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Scott Lakers ready for new season ahead

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Report By: Enda Walsh

St Pauls, once again under the banner of generous sponsors Scotts Hotel, commence their National League campaign this coming Saturday in Limerick where they take on Limerick Celtic with a 7.15pm tip-off.

The squad, led by Mark O'Shea and assembled by coach Jarlath Lee, has a distinctly youthful look to it as the club puts down foundations for the future. That's not to say that it won't be ambitious and competitive.This season sees the return of Canadian point guard Ben Miller who, despite signing in September 2020 has yet to play a competitive game for the club with the worldwide pandemic putting a halt to the 2020/21 season without a net being swished.

Credit to Ben, who liked what he saw in his short time here before the COVID shutdown, as he had no hesitation in returning. He has all the potential to be one of the best point guards in the Division and his pre-season form is encouraging. Joining Ben on the court will be six foot five inch Bulgarian U16, 18 and 20 International Emilian Grudov. Highly rated again, his pre-season form has been good where shooting and rebounding are his strengths. Interestingly, the team have met Superleague opposition in pre-season and the form of Ben and Emilian has stood up to these stiffer tests. A returning familiar face to Killarney basketball will be Dinus Varanauskas who, in his previous spell with the club played at Superleague level to huge success, and his experience and know how will be invaluable to the young team. A good shooter, his minutes will be key. As well as the aforementioned skipper Mark O'Shea, the squad has a local feel to it with Irish underage International Jamie O'Sullivan, vice captain, and after building up his time in previous seasons he is now a first five starter alongside upcoming Irish underage trialist Senan O'Leary. Keelin Houlihan is now a mainstay in the squad alongside Gneeveguilla natives Ronan Collins, David Gleeson, and Lorcan Keane. Paul Clarke (nephew of Brian), has put in a big shift in pre-season and his height and strength will be vital under the boards. Promising underage players Daniel Carroll, Mark Sheehan, and Jason Lee are training with the squad with an eye to showing them the ropes of what goes on at this higher level. Kevin O'Regan also joins the squad alongside Ben Flavin, Eoghan Myers and the highly rated youngster Jack O'Sullivan.

EYE ON THE FUTURE

Coach Jarlath Lee definitely has his eye on the future with the club taking the route of harvesting young local talent married to good scouting of overseas talent. Interestingly Jarlath's son, outstanding Paralympian Athlete Jordan, joins him on the sidelines as the team fitness guru.

After the opening night trip to Limerick the team will hit the road NBA style with further trips to Fr Matthews (Cork) with a first round National Cup tie sandwiched between games in Carlow and Waterford. Home fans can pencil Saturday, November 13 in as their first sight of the Lakers as they welcome League favourites UCC Blue Demons to Killarney. December sees a festival of home games against Limerick sides Sports Eagles and Celtics with a December 30 clash with newcomers Killarney Cougars. 2022 will see five home games and if the squad can gather momentum in the first half of the season home advantage could be crucial at the business end of the League.

SCOTT LAKERS FIXTURES

Division 1 is split into two conferences with Scotts Lakers St Pauls operating in the nine team Southern Conference. All home games tip off at 7.30pm.

Home: UCC Blue Demons November 13, Limerick Sports Eagles December 11, Limerick Celtics December 18, IT Carlow January 15, Fr Matthews Jan 29, Portlaoise February 19, and Cougars March 5.

Away: Limerick Celtics October 9, Fr Matthews October 16, IT Carlow October 23, Waterford Vikings November 6, Portlaoise November 27, Cougars December 30, UCC Blue Demons February 13, and Limerick Sports Eagles February 26.

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Further rise in house prices forecast for 2022 as average price of a resale home in the capital reaches €500,000

According to the latest residential market review and outlook from leading property advisors DNG, house prices are set to continue rising this year, following the strong growth in values recorded in 2021. At a national level (excluding Dublin) the DNG National Price Gauge (NPG) recorded an increase in the average price of a second hand […]

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According to the latest residential market review and outlook from leading property advisors
DNG, house prices are set to continue rising this year, following the strong growth in values
recorded in 2021.

At a national level (excluding Dublin) the DNG National Price Gauge (NPG)
recorded an increase in the average price of a second hand home of 13.6% last year, a marked
acceleration in the rate of inflation compared to 2020 when prices rose by 1.4%.
At the national level (including Dublin) the overall rate of price increase last year stood at 12.0%. The NPG, which tracks house prices across the country on a half yearly basis, recorded growth of 5.3% in the six months to December 2021, compared to an increase of 7.9% in the first six months of last year.
All regions of Ireland recorded double digit price growth in 2021, except for Dublin (+9.9%).
Nationally, the strongest rate of house price appreciation was in the Mid-West region (+17.2%)
followed by the Midlands (+14.2%) and West (+13.8%) whilst the South East region saw the
lowest rate of growth in prices last year (+11.0%).
Outside the capital the highest average price was found in the Mid-East (€349,259) followed by the South West (€279,844).

Looking at the outlook for the year ahead, the agency forecasts further growth in prices both in
Dublin and nationally, with regional price gains set to outstrip those in the capital where nominal
values are already elevated, and affordability is more challenged.
The agency is forecasting an average uplift in regional markets of 12-13% this year whilst price growth in Dublin will more likely be high single digits, in the order of 6-8%.
The factors underpinning the forecasts include continued strong economic and wage growth, the heightened household savings levels seen in 2020-21, the extension of government initiatives for first time buyers announced in the budget, strong demand from this cohort evident in the mortgage approvals data and the prevailing low interest rate environment.
On the supply side, whilst the supply of new residential completions is set to increase to around 26,000 units this year, this will still be well below the estimated 30-35,000 new units required each year to meet demand thereby putting upward pressure on prices in the market.
“Whilst Covid-related issues rightly dominated the news agenda in 2021, housing undoubtedly came a close second, given the emotive nature of the housing debate and the current market dynamics of
rising house prices and rents and a shortage of accommodation available to buy or rent, not only
in Dublin but across the country.”, said DNG’s Director of Research Paul Murgatroyd said “Price growth was clearly very robust last year across all regions and the factors that drove those increases continue to be evident in the market as we enter 2022. The stock of homes for sale in the second hand market remains very low by historical standards and this, combined with the elevated level of demand, brought about in part by factors linked to changing behaviours throughout the pandemic, will mean further price appreciation will be evident as we progress through the year ahead.”

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Iarnrod Eireann refuses plans for footbridge at railway station

By Sean Moriarty Iarnrod Eireann will not be providing a footbridge to allow pedestrian’s access Killarney Bus Station direct from Killarney Railway Station. Following a motion put forward by Cllr John O’Dongohue last year it was decided that Kerry County Council would write to the railway company about building a footbridge to link the two […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Iarnrod Eireann will not be providing a footbridge to allow pedestrian’s access Killarney Bus Station direct from Killarney Railway Station.

Following a motion put forward by Cllr John O’Dongohue last year it was decided that Kerry County Council would write to the railway company about building a footbridge to link the two public transport hubs.

Currently rail passengers must walk from Killarney station, via the front entrance of the Great Southern Hotel and then walk the entire length of the Outlet Centre before reaching the bus station.

“It’s an anomaly that wouldn’t be tolerated in any other European country,” said Cllr O’Donoghue in November.

Iarnrod Eireann has responded to the letter sent shortly after the November meeting.

In reply the railway company said that in October 2019 it carried out a study which included the possibility of a either an underpass or a footbridge.

The study revealed that passenger would face a short four to five minute walk when trying to access one hub from another.

“Iarnrod Eireann would regard this as scheme as a low priority investment,” said chief executive Jim Meade in the letter.

Cllr Donoghue said the response was “ludicrous” and that he had often witnessed passengers lugging suitcases through the Outlet Centre.

“You would not jog it in five minutes,” he said.

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