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St Paul’s youngsters do club proud

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The past season was another very successful one for the juvenile teams of St Paul's Basketball Club. With membership continuing to grow and reach record numbers of over 400 boys and girls, the future of Killarney basketball looks very bright and promising.

The St Paul's Little Dribblers initiative caters for almost 50 U-8 players every Friday evening where young participants learn new and basic basketball skills. The recent government Sports Capital Grant will facilitate the purchase of four new professional basketball hoops to assist the development of these young players.

At U-10 boys level, the club catered for 50 players while 35 more played at U-10 girls level. Both teams competed in monthly blitzes during the season while St Paul's hosted a blitz to finish the season.

The St Paul's U-11 boys team reached the Kerry cup final but lost a very close game while the U-11 second team made substantial progress throughout the season. The U-11 girls team were also very competitive in Kerry area board league and cup activities.

The U-12 boys team enjoyed a tremendous season securing a league and cup double. The U-12 girls also had a great campaign in Division 1 and clinched the Shield title. St Paul's U-14 girls did well in Division 1 competitions and the Division 3 team reached the semi-final of the playoffs.

The U-14 boys had an outstanding season winning the cup and the Castleisland Christmas tournament and also finished joint top of league. However, they missed out on the title after losing an away game to Duagh without having the opportunity to play at home. The U-14 Division 3 team also competed very well with a huge panel of players.

The U-16 girls performed admirably in Division 1 and lost the Shield final. The highlight of the season was a trip to Berlin in October where they won all their games against Alba Berlin. The U-16 Division 3 team remained in contention at the top of the league all season and were unlucky to lose out in the cup final.

The U-16 and U-18 boys teams trained hard all year under the guidance of Mikey Keogh and Antuan Bootle with the U-18s reaching the Cup final. The U-18 girls team competed in a very tough Division 1 but did very well to reach the Cup final before losing to Castleisland.

Congratulations to Jamie O'Neill, Ellen Kennedy, Tara Donnellan, Ben Switzer and Luke Crowley who represented Kerry this season. The return of National League basketball to Killarney and the emergence and success of Scotts Lakers is a huge source of inspiration to all the club’s juvenile players.

It is fantastic to see so many of the club teams competing in Division 1 leagues and the club hopes to bring other teams to that level with more coaching and development.

St. Paul's juvenile section are very grateful to our main sponsor Tricel and the Stack family for their tremendous support. Every child in the club received their own set of playing gear and it is fabulous to see all the teams wearing the same matching outfits.

Finally a special thanks to all the club coaches, assistant coaches, team managers

and the hard working comittee who give up their valuable time to look after

all the young players.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch

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At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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