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Scotts Lakers coach hails main sponsors for support

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As the 2021/22 National League season finally gets up and running, Adam Moynihan speaks to Lakers head coach Jarlath Lee about the new season, his new signings, and the team’s mains sponsors: Scotts Hotel, Killarney Credit Union and the Killarney Advertiser.

AM: Jarlath, you must be delighted to get going.

JL: It was about time! No, there’s a good vibe around the team at the moment. We’re all happy and excited to be playing. Unfortunately the juveniles aren’t back yet, but the seniors are quite happy.

How is your rotation coming together?

It’s getting there. Football is an issue. Mark O’Shea (Dr Crokes) has been back with us the last week and a half or so. He trains with us but he hasn’t been able to play matches. The Gneeveguilla boys are only back this week because they were concentrating on the football. It has been hard to get a proper rotation set just yet.

You’re two games into the season now. Have you learned much about your team and the competition in the opening few weeks?

It’s all about learning. We’re always learning and we’re slowly getting our unity together. I would have like that to have happened a bit quicker but I do reckon we will be challenging. We will be in the top four regardless. Ben is the best point guard in the league without a shadow of a doubt, and Emilian is one of the best scorers in the league without a shadow of a doubt. The young guys just need to build their confidence up and when that happens, it’s going to be good. It’s going to be exciting. For the people that will be coming to the home games, I just want to encourage them to be loud. We need an atmosphere there. Encourage the young guys on the court.

Are those young players enjoying being involved with a National League team?

They’re loving it. They’re all getting a couple of minutes. Senan O’Leary and Jamie O’Sullivan are starting at the moment, so they’re getting their chance. Senan’s confidence is getting better bit by bit. He’s averaging eight points a game. Jamie has been consistent all the way through. And we’ve got even younger players than those two. Jack O’Sullivan is an awesome player. He’s only 16 but he’s way above the rim already. And Luke Crowley as well. You’ll see them all over the course of the season.

The Killarney Sports & Leisure Centre is tied up until the end of the month so Sunday's game against Portlaoise will be played in Castleisland. Is that going to affect the team?

The young players would have played there before but the new guys, Ben Miller, Emilian Grudov and Rui Saravia, haven’t. Will it affect them? No, it shouldn’t. They’re professionals to a certain extent. We’re looking forward to it because we threw away the Limerick game. It was just bad decisions at the end of the game that cost us. We had it won at half-time. And last week (against Fr Mathews), we just didn’t perform on the offensive end. You don’t go from scoring over 100 points the week before to just over 50-something the following week… We’re well able to score. We’ll be fine.

How are those foreign imports settling in?

They’re loving Killarney anyway. They really like it. Ben came back, he wanted to commit to a full year which was great. He knew the team already from last year. Emilian is very young but he’s a phenomenal scorer. In pre-season he scored 26 against Neptune and 31 or 32 against Killorglin, two Super League teams. The new guy, Rui, is a 10 (points) and 10 (rebounds) guy. He’s more of a defensive player. And Dainius Varanauskas, the old dog, is back with the team.

How’s Dainius getting on?

He’s getting there. He’s putting in the work, training twice a day. He just wants to help out. He’s not bothered about minutes, he’s not complaining. He’s just there, talking to the young guys, which is brilliant. It’s great to have him back.

And your own son, Jordan, is involved in a coaching capacity. What is he bringing to the table?

Jordan’s first love is basketball and he loves being around the game. His main thing is strength and conditioning so he has done individual workout programmes for the players. He also brings the team down to the lake for recovery sessions and does yoga sessions. He brings a different sort of approach.

Away from the court, your main sponsors (Scotts, Killarney Credit Union and the Killarney Advertiser) are back on board again this season. How important is it to have their support?

Without the sponsors, it doesn’t happen. It’s great that Scotts and Maurice O’Donoghue are with us as sponsors and hopefully they’ll continue to support us going forward. Even going back to Maurice O’Donoghue Sr and the Gleneagle Hotel, the O’Donoghues have given the club great support. Margaret loves basketball, she’ll be at all the games. The whole family loves basketball. Their kids and their nieces and nephews are all involved. And we have other new sponsors involved too. O’Sullivan Bike Hire have provided bikes to the players to get around town. It’s fantastic to have them all on board.

Lakers fans can now buy their season tickets with a ‘single’ costing €50. A ‘patron’ option (two adults) is available for €100, which include a mention in the gameday programmes. The ‘family’ season ticket (two adults and two under 16s) is €120. This entitles fans to entry to every home league and cup game. Visit the St Paul’s Killarney Facebook page for details on how you can get your hands on these tickets through Eventbrite. Alternatively, you can contact any club officer.

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Lakers add Boahen as Miller returns to Canada

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Scotts Lakers (St Paul’s) have replaced one Canadian with another this week as Division 1 graduate Godwin Boahen replaces the outgoing Ben Miller.

Miller impressed despite the team’s slow start to the season and he will certainly be a loss as he returns to his native country.

However, the club have a ready replacement in former University of Illinois player Boahen. The 5’11” guard from Toronto made his debut against the Panthers last weekend as he and Miller shared minutes in a six-point defeat. Boahen scored 16 points.

“The club would like to wish Ben Miller well as he returns home to his native Canada this week,” an official Lakers statement read. “We would like to acknowledge the impact Ben had on the club through his involvement with the National League senior men’s team and his coaching of the club’s juveniles.

“We would like to thank him most sincerely for his time and effort.”

The Lakers face the Limerick Sport Eagles and the Limerick Celtics at home in December along with an away derby game against the Killarney Cougars at the end of the month.

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Relegation battle has town divided

By Sean Moriarty This is bigger than the county final itself – with the main prize on offer being bragging rights in the town. After an unprecedented run of events during this year’s Kerry Senior Football championship Killarney’s two biggest clubs, Dr Crokes and Killarney Legion are set to face off in a relegation battle […]

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By Sean Moriarty

This is bigger than the county final itself – with the main prize on offer being bragging rights in the town.

After an unprecedented run of events during this year’s Kerry Senior Football championship Killarney’s two biggest clubs, Dr Crokes and Killarney Legion are set to face off in a relegation battle that is sure to divide the town.

In sporting terms, the outcome of the big game, set for December 5, is simple enough. The winner stays in the Senior Championship next season and the losers will have to play in the Intermediate Championship.

Fans of the black and amber or the green and white face an anxious week. Winning the county title is one thing – consigning your cross town rivals to second division football in football is altogether a bigger prize.

Senior officials from both clubs are being very guarded on a potential outcome as both sides know the significance of this play off.

“It is a pity that two Killarney clubs, with a long tradition of playing football in the top tier, find themselves in the position of having to play off to avoid relegation,” Matt O’Neill, Cathaoirleach of Dr Crokes, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Both teams will fight tooth and nail to stay in the senior ranks. I am confident that on Sunday week our lads will do themselves and the club proud, as always, and give their all in the quest to keep the black and amber to the fore.”

Crokes are based off the Lewis Road with Legion a short distance away on the other side of the bypass.

“Everyone has an opinion on this,” Legion PRO, Elaine O’Donoghue, told the Killarney Advertiser. “Both sides will be nervous – may the best team win. There are a lot of questions, are the Crokes suffering after defeat to Kerins O’Rahillys [in the semi-final]? Are our lads suffering after losing to St Brendan’s for the third year in a row?”

Every football fan will be keeping a close eye on next weekend’s Intermediate County Final too which takes place on December 4.

The winners of the match between Beaufort and Tralee side Na Gael will be automatically promoted to replace the losers of the Killarney play-off in the Senior Championship next season.

Should Beaufort prevail, a (relatively) local team could replace a town team in the top flight.

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