TWENTY years ago this weekend, on Saturday January 25, 1997, the Kerry Spring St Paul's U-19 team enjoyed a spectacular 65-63 victory over Star of the Sea Belfast to clinch the U-19 National Cup at The National Basketball Arena in Dublin. It was the second time in three years that St Paul's enjoyed success in this competition following another victory in 1995.
Star of the Sea were hot favourites for this title but the Killarney side caused a big shock in a thrilling encounter that was viewed as the most exciting game of the weekend of the Sprite National Cup series that hosted ten different fixtures. St Paul's were well in contention from the start with team captain Shane Horgan, David O'Flaherty, Paul Kennedy, Michael Clifford and David Griffin all contributing well. Star of the Sea were led by Irish International and Longford GAA player Trevor Smullen and the Belfast side led 26-20 midway through the first half. However St Paul's responded magnificently hitting 13 points without reply through Griffin, Horgan, O'Flaherty and Kennedy to lead 33-26 with five minutes left. Star hit back but St Paul's stayed in front to lead 41-37 at the interval.
It was a closely contested third quarter and St Paul's enjoyed a narrow 52-50 lead entering the final quarter. The outstanding David Griffin produced some magical moments on both ends of the court to keep St Paul's ahead but Smullen levelled matters at 56 points each with seven minutes remaining. The title seemed destined for Star as Smullen pushed them 61-58 in front with three minutes left but Horgan and Griffin turned it around for St Paul's to lead 62-61. Star were ahead again with 90 seconds left but a crucial basket from Clifford gave St Paul's a 64-63 lead entering the final minute.
Both sides squandered opportunities in a tense and drama filled finish before Shane Horgan converted a free throw with 13 seconds left to secure a magnificent victory for St Paul's.
Match MVP David Griffin led the scoring for St Paul's with 24 points followed by David O'Flaherty 16, Shane Horgan 12, Paul Kennedy 9, Micheal Clifford 4, Kenneth McCarthy, John Brosnan, Aidan McCarthy, Michael O'Mahoney, Cathal Bartlett, Colin Russell, John Griffin and Ciaran Driver. Coach: Karl Fleming.
Star: Trevor Smullen 30, Neal McCotter 14.
On the same weekend in 1997 on Friday, January 24, the Kerry Spring St Paul's senior men’s team were competing in the showpiece weekend of Irish Basketball before a capacity crowd at The National Basketball Arena. St Paul's featured in the first live TV semi-final against St Vincent's Dublin but it was a disappointing performance from the Killarney side losing 88-74.
St Paul's did enjoy a promising start with Nick Browning leading the way and they raced into an early 13-4 lead and were 30-23 in front with five minutes left in the first half. However St Vincent's bounced back and enjoyed a 38-37 advantage at half-time.
Above: The Kerry Spring St Paul's U-19 team celebrating National Cup success in January 1997. Front from left are David O'Flaherty, Aidan McCarthy, David Griffin, Shane Horgan (Captain), Cathal Bartlett and Ciaran Driver. Back from left are Gerard Coughlan (Kerry Spring), Michael O'Mahoney, John Griffin, Colin Russell, Paul Kennedy, Kenneth McCarthy, John Brosnan, Micheal Clifford, Karl Fleming (Coach) and Mike Murphy (Kerry Spring).
PICTURE: EAMONN KEOGH
Fossa’s marathon man competes in Vienna
By Sean Moriarty They are a familiar sight on training sessions out the Fossa way, but last weekend two Killarney marathon runners made themselves known in Vienna, Austria. Tony Harty (Fossa) and Seamus Murphy (Milltown and Glencar) train together and travel together to international marathons all over the world. On Sunday they contested the Vienna Marathon […]
By Sean Moriarty
They are a familiar sight on training sessions out the Fossa way, but last weekend two Killarney marathon runners made themselves known in Vienna, Austria.
Tony Harty (Fossa) and Seamus Murphy (Milltown and Glencar) train together and travel together to international marathons all over the world.
On Sunday they contested the Vienna Marathon with Tony recording a personal-best time of 2hrs and 45mins. He finished second in the Over 45 category and 27th overall, while Tony completed the course in 3hrs and 3mins.
“You won’t see one of us without the other,” said Tony.
Niall Thompson of Killorglin was also competing in the event.
Tony is a member of the well-known Harty family of Waterford. His two brothers Phillip and William and sister Rebecca all raced for Ireland.
Tony took up running later than his siblings and contested his first marathon in 2015 when was 39-years-old.
Now 45 he cannot stop running and takes in at least two overseas marathons every year as well as Irish and local events.
“It is all part of the experience,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. Both he and Seamus have previously contested marathons in Barcelona, Valencia and Rotterdam and he intends to return to Spain in early December for another crack at the Valencia event.
He prepared for Sunday’s race by winning overall at the Churchtown 5-mile race in Cork last month and the Antrim Half-Marathon a few weeks ago.
“Vienna was very hot, up to 26 degrees, and lots of people were suffering,” he added. “Vienna was supposed to run in April but it got deferred. We prefer running in cooler conditions. Valencia will be around 10 degrees in December which is ideal.”
Jordan’s new role with St Paul’s
By Sean Moriarty Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club. Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level. The High Jumper then switched […]
By Sean Moriarty
Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club.
Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level.
The High Jumper then switched to track and field and qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics where he made history by becoming the first Kerry athlete to act as a flag bearer for an opening ceremony and lead an Irish team into an Olympic Stadium.
Now back home and preparing for the next Olympics in Paris, he has returned to his first love and will join the backroom staff at the local Division One basketball club ahead of their National League campaign which begins next month.
His father Jarlath Lee is head coach with St Paul’s.
“Jordan is joining us as our strength and conditioning coach,” Jarlath told the Killarney Advertiser.
Meanwhile, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club National League team will have a distinctive feel to it this year after securing the services of three overseas players it for the season ahead.
The club’s biggest signing is Canadian professional Ben Miller. It was originally hoped that the former two-time Manitoba Player of the Year would play for the local side last season but the pandemic got in the way and the National League was never played. However, he did play two training games this time last year before returning to Canada until travel restrictions lifted.
“He is a good guy, very approachable and very good with the young members,” Jarlath said.
The club has also signed Bulgarian International Emilian Grudov.
The 20-year-old has already represented his home country at U16, 18 and 20 level.
“He is young, athletic and very good offensively,” added Lee.
The returning Lithuanian Dianius Varanaukus completes the club international line up for the 2020/21 season.
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