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Former St Paul’s star on fast-track to become a top basketball referee




By Sean Moriarty

A Killarney woman is making a name for herself as one of the few female basketball referees in the country.

OFFICIALS: Emer Buckley with the CEO of Basketball Ireland John Feehan. Photo: Martin Doherty

IN ACTION: Killarney referee Emer Buckley pictured in action on the court.

Emer Buckley, a former Irish International and St Paul’s Killarney star, is enjoying a second career as a Basketball Ireland official.

Emer is the only Superleague referee in Kerry. There are two other Kerry female officials who are on the national league panel.

Last month she was one of the three designated officials to take charge of the Womens’ National Cup Final in Dublin and her ambition is to officiate at Men’s Superleague games in the future.

Her career as a basketball referee started shortly after she hung up her national and club jersey.

Keen to stay involved in the sport that shaped her life, the Ardshanavooly-raised woman started refereeing school matches in the popular town league, about 10 years ago.

“The competitive streak in me meant that I could not carry on playing just for fun, I had to get involved on the inside,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “Breeda O’Neill rang me one time and said she was desperate for a referee for a juvenile town league game – it kind of took off from there.”


The local town league matches sparked an interest in the official side of the sport and after taking a few Basketball Ireland courses she started to referee local county matches in Kerry.

Her work rate and sense of fairness on the court attracted the attention of Paul Dempsey, one of Ireland’s top Basketball officials and FIBA (International Basketball Federation) National educator, and he encouraged Muckross-based Buckley to take national league level courses.

She officiated her first national league game back in 2012 under her mentor, Emma Perry, another top senior Irish basketball official.

Perry is a driving force behind getting more woman involved at an official capacity and guided Buckley along her journey.

All through lockdown, she spent hours on Zoom calls and other online courses to continue educating herself and to improve as an official. These courses were led by FIBA national educators from all over Europe.

This resulted in her being selected as one of the three match officials for the national semi-finals and finals last month.

For the average spectator in the stands, it looks like the referees just turn up on the day of game, take charge and go home once it is over.


A typical national match would involve hours of pre-event preparation. Buckley studies videos of previous matches involving both teams so she can get an understanding of their style of play.

She must build off-court relationships with club managers and team officials and once it is all over she is subjected to peer assessments who comment on what she did right or wrong during a game.

She must remain physically fit too. An average basketball match could last over an hour and a half including time-outs and overtime and while team players rotate during the game the officials must remain physically and mentally alert for the duration.

“I try and go for three to four runs a week which could be between 5 or 10kms on a good week,” she added.

It is a serious commitment, she works full-time and has to find time for her children Michaela (22), Jack (18) and Emily (12).

“They are my number one supporters. When they tell their friends they are going to a match, their friends ask "What team are you supporting?", and they say "We are supporting the ref",” Buckley said.

She has received a lot of support throughout her career as an official and in turn Emer is passing her knowledge to all local league officials as she is also the development officer for the Kerry Officials Association.

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Shock at the death of “wonderful community activist”

There was a great sense of shock over the weekend when new of the death of Yvonne Quill, a Tidy Towns champion and wonderful community activist, became known. Yvonne, from […]




There was a great sense of shock over the weekend when new of the death of Yvonne Quill, a Tidy Towns champion and wonderful community activist, became known.

Yvonne, from Barleymount and formerly of the Cafe, College Street, passed away following a short illness on Friday. Requiem Mass takes place this morning (Monday) at 11am in The Prince of Peace Church, Fossa, followed by burial in Aghadoe Lawn Cemetery.

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce President Niall Kelleher said she will be very fondly remembered as an incredibly dedicated woman, a strong personality who led by example and spearheaded the town’s Tidy Towns committee with such passion for over 25 years.

He recalled that her proudest day was when, as chairperson of the Killarney Looking Good Committee, she inspired Killarney to the prestigious overall national award in 2011 which had proved so elusive prior to that.

“Yvonne led by example and she never asked anyone to do something she wouldn’t do herself. You would seldom see her without the yellow bib, playing her part and showing us all what needed to be done to give Killarney the edge,” Mr Kelleher said.

“While winning the overall prize was something special, Killarney has never been far from the top and it has won a gold medal almost every year which is testament to Yvonne’s great ability to organise, her steely determination and her unrivalled ability to rally the troops,” he added.

The Chamber President also remembered her as a great businesswoman, a master baker and confectioner whose café on College Street was a must-visit for a whole generation of Killarney people and visitors.

“Yvonne Quill has left a great legacy in her home town. We thank her for what she has done, we’ll remember her incredible work ethic and we’ll ensure her name will live on in Killarney by continuing the commitment to the Tidy Towns initiative.”

Johnny McGuire, a member of the executive of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, who worked alongside Yvonne at the helm of the Tidy Towns committee, said she was a born leader who inspired the whole community and always led by example.

“Killarney would never have won the All-Ireland Tidy Towns award without her. She was the inspirational captain of the winning team. Yvonne worked night and day and, when it came to Tidy Towns, there was no downtime for her,” Mr McGuire said.

“Her commitment to the cause brought her into every school and every housing estate in Killarney. Working closely with the late Fr Michael Murphy, her great friend, Kathleen Foley, and others, they really put Killarney in contention for the top awards every year. The name Yvonne Quill was known and respected in Tidy Towns circles throughout the entire country – she really was a legend and everything she turned her hand to,
she succeeded. Killarney will miss her,” he added.

She will be deeply missed by her husband John, children Peter, Sandra and Sean, her son-in-law Peter, daughter-in-law Mairéad, grandchildren Anna, Jake, Ted, Abby and Luke, sister Angela Mulvey, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and extended family, friends, neighbours and the community.

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Jim awarded for life-long service to the community

By Michelle Crean Listry local Jim O’Shea was honoured last week as members of the community council presented him with an award for his life-long service to the community. Jim […]




By Michelle Crean

Listry local Jim O’Shea was honoured last week as members of the community council presented him with an award for his life-long service to the community.

Jim received the O’Shea Award for 2022 at a meeting of Directors of Listry Community Council held on September 21.

Jim has been involved in Athletics from a very early age both as a competitor and administrator.

He was very much involved with Community Games in Milltown/Listry as organiser and coach. He was also involved with the Farranfore Maine Valley Athletic Club since its foundation.

Over the years Jim has competed in athletic events, mainly high jump and long jump, both in Ireland and abroad.

Recently he travelled to Derby in the UK in the British Masters Championship and won Gold in the 100 metres and Long Jump and finished second in the High Jump.

Jim, who is a very modest man, was actively involved with Listry Community Council as a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels and for his commitment to keeping our community litter free by organising a number of litter picking days each year.

Always interested in fitness, Jim often came along to the Listry Seniors Social day and led the group in gentle exercises.

“Jim is a very worthy recipient of the O’Shea Award 2022 and we thank him for a lifetime of service to others,” Tony Darmody, Chairman, said.

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