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‘If you’re in the Irish league, it’s for the love of the game’ – Boahen

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Ahead of his home debut for the Lakers, Toronto native Godwin Boahen speaks to Adam Moynihan about moving to Ireland, his goals for the season, and what he’s about to bring to the table.

Godwin, welcome to Killarney. How are you settling in so far? Is it your first time in Ireland?

Yeah, first time. So far, so good. Yes, sir. Yesterday we had that little storm, but it's been good so far.

When did you first arrive?

I've been here for two weeks now.

And what are your first impressions of the town? Have you seen much of it?

Basically, I think I've seen all of it. It's beautiful. Very spacious. And lots of greenery.

Is it much different to where you’re from?

Yeah, definitely. I'm from a city and this is a small town. I remember the first day I coached a couple of kids for the St Paul's U10 team. Later, I went out to get some dinner in town and I saw those same kids with their parents. So it's a very small town!

Can you tell me a bit about where you’re from and your background in basketball?

I grew up in Toronto, Ontario and played with a local team called the YAAACE. We had a really good AAU team and I played with a bunch of players who are in the NBA now: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Thon Maker, Oshae Brissett, Justin Jackson… I always ended up being the smallest one so I was always the point guard.

I ended up going to St Michael's College, which is a private school in Toronto. I left the private school at around 15/16 and went to St Louis Christian Academy (Missouri). That was the year that I kind of garnered a lot of interest. I ended up going to UIC (University of Illinois Chicago), where I actually had an Irish teammate: Jordan Blount. That’s my boy. I had four years at UIC. And then, right after that, COVID took over.

So how did the move to Ireland come about?

It was actually kind of crazy. I signed to go play CBA with the Edmonton Stingers and then I got my first injury of my whole life. I broke my ankle. I realised I might as well make sure I come back more than 100%, and not rush the rehab, because it was actually the best time to get hurt, if you know what I mean. Everything had shut down because of COVID.

I had a bunch of agents hit me up, and a bunch of teams showed interest. But it was like no team was willing to push the button because they didn't know if I could still do what I would have done [without the injury]. My uncle found this camp online that is run by Brad Kanis, and Brad hooked me up with St Paul’s.

You’ve played one game already. What have you made of your new teammates and the setup?

We're young but we have energy and we can use that to our advantage. I know the team is 1-5 but I feel like we could have won against Portlaoise, we just made a couple of mistakes. So based on that one game that I’ve played, I feel like we have a chance in this league. But I also understand that a lot of these players are young, and it's gonna take more than just faith to get it done.

Can you describe yourself as a player? What are you going to bring to the team?

I describe myself as “do whatever”. I’ll do whatever the coach wants me to do. I’ve played at so many different levels, and my game has had to change through all those levels. Coming here, the emphasis is on scoring. Because the team is very young, sometimes they get into droughts or it’s just not going through the hoop, so they need someone who can score. And I can do that. I see myself as someone who makes plays.

What are your personal goals for the season?

I want to win. I want to win this league. I know we’re 1-5 but I think there are 12 games left, and the top four teams go to the playoffs. Once you're in the playoffs, it's free game. My goal is to make it to the playoffs and win this league. I know this is not going to be easy. But it's not 30 games. We have 12 games. Just lock in and focus. We can do it.

And finally, just on a personal level, how happy are you to be here?

I mean, to be honest, I'm just very grateful to be in this position. Especially because of where I was last year after I graduated. If you asked me at the time, I never thought I'd be here. Because right after college, I had a deal, I had somewhere to go. But then the injury happens and then I had nowhere to go. And you're just sitting at home and you're actually thinking, am I gonna be able to play again? Am I even going to get a chance?

So I'm just grateful to be here, doing the thing that I love. I guess the injury and me taking the time away made me realise how much I really love the game. It's not like this league pays you millions of dollars or even pays you at all. Really, if you come to this league, it’s for the love of the game.

I'm excited. I'm happy. I'm grateful to be in this league and in this country. I just can't wait to get started.

National League Division 1

Scotts Lakers v Limerick Sport Eagles

Saturday at 7.30pm

Killarney Sports & Leisure Centre

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Kerry ladies must bounce back at home to Waterford

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All-Ireland Senior Championship Group 2

Kerry v Waterford

Saturday 3pm

Fitzgerald Stadium

The Kerry ladies will be looking to get back to winning ways against Waterford on Saturday following last weekend’s frustrating draw against Donegal in Ballybofey.

The Kingdom led with seconds remaining in treacherous conditions but a late Donegal free snatched a draw for the home side (Donegal 1-6 Kerry 0-9). It was a game that Kerry would have been expecting to win and the result puts a lot more pressure on them this weekend as they try to top the three-team group and earn a home quarter-final.

If they beat Waterford and Donegal do likewise next week, Kerry and Donegal will be level in first place on four points each. The top seed will then be decided by the head-to-head record between the teams. As Kerry v Donegal was a draw, the deciding factor will be whoever scored the most points in that draw. That would be good news for Kerry as they scored nine points to Donegal’s six.

When Kerry and Waterford last met (in this year’s Munster Championship), Kerry needed a late winner by Fiadhna Tangney to prevail by narrowest of margins (1-8 to 1-7). If Waterford beat Kerry and then lose to Donegal, Kerry would be eliminated from the championship.

The Kerry squad has been boosted by the return of Síofra O’Shea who came off the bench against Donegal following a lengthy period out with a knee injury.

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US-bound Kerry runner Lynch hopes to emulate Mageean magic

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by Adam Moynihan

Killarney middle distance runner Oisín Lynch is taking inspiration from newly crowned European 1500m champion Ciara Mageean as he gets set for the next stage of his career in the United States.

This week Lynch confirmed that he will be heading Stateside after accepting a scholarship at Adams State University in Colorado. The promising 800m and 1500m competitor caught the eye of coaches at the leading American college after representing Ireland in the Youth Olympics and also by winning two national titles in recent months.

Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser, the 18-year-old Killarney Valley AC athlete, who is currently doing his Leaving Cert at St Brendan’s College, says he one day hopes to emulate Mageean’s heroics on the international stage.

“The Irish are on the up at underage and at senior level,” Lynch notes. “We have been improving a lot in recent years. When you see Ciara Mageean winning the 1500m it just shows that it can be done by Irish people.

“Sometimes Irish athletes don’t really believe in themselves when they’re getting knocked out of championships by English or European athletes. Mageean winning that European title is definitely something to drive me on. It shows that I can actually do it.”

DREAM

For Lynch, moving to the United States is a hugely significant step, and one that he has dreamed about making since he was a child.

“It’s unbelievable. I always hoped I could earn a scholarship. I worked hard over the last few years, so it’s nice to see that work paying off.

“I had a few schools onto me but when Adams State got in touch, I sized it up and I knew it was a really good opportunity.

“The fact that the college is at 7,500 feet… That’s a crazy altitude. It’s double the height of Carrauntoohil. Altitude training has massive benefits for distance running and nowadays nearly every pro spends most of their year training at altitude. The chance to get that training for the next couple of years is great.

“And their athletics programme is unbelievable. Coach Damon Martin has been there for 40 years and he has coached 12 Olympians. Adams State is in the top 15 for distance in the country and the standard out there in America is very high.”

STRIDES

Killarney Valley AC have made enormous strides since building their new, state-of-the-art facility in 2020 and Lynch is a grateful beneficiary of that progress.

“I can’t thank the club enough. Going back a couple of years we were training on grass in parks. When you want to be a track runner, it’s just not the same. After a lot of hard work by a lot of good people, we managed to get a 200-metre track in Killarney. That’s massive for us and it’s all we need for training.

“The coaches down there are putting in the hard work, including my dad (Con), Tomás Griffin, Jean Courtney, Jerry Griffin, Bríd Stack, Alan Delaney… I could go on. It’s a great club and there are some good athletes coming through. It’s an exciting time for Killarney Valley.”

After Lynch completes his Leaving Cert, he will start preparing for life as a college athlete. He will study kinesiology in Colorado and on the track he hopes to keep on moving in the right direction. That means getting his times down (his current PBs are 1.50.59 over 800m and 3.51 over 1500m), representing Ireland, and hopefully winning a national title in America.

“Obviously I’ll take every step as it comes,” the ambitious Kerryman says, “but the Olympics is the main long-term target, hopefully in LA in 2028.”

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