Basketball courts

Great to be back on the Mayo basketball courts!

Dayna Finn represented Ireland with distinction this year. PHOTO: SPORTS FILE

by John Melvin

BASKETBALL players, coaches, referees and, in particular, schools in Mayo breathed a sigh of relief when the sport was finally given the government’s green light to continue after a hiatus of more than 18 months.

Since November, it’s really been about getting as many competitions played as possible, especially the Schools Cup and the leagues that are currently coming to an end.

Mayo Schools are doing particularly well, with the Boys Under 16 and Girls Under 19 from St. Louis Community School, Kiltimagh chasing an All-Ireland Cup double in the final which will be played in January.

St. Joseph’s Secondary School in Castlebar is also doing well, with Siobhan Kilkenny coaching a highly promising women’s under-16 side who have qualified for the regional league final.

The Girls Under 19 were unlucky to lose by one point to Castlerea in the regional league semi-finals.

The Boys Under-19 of Gortnor Abbey, under the tutelage of Liam McHale, have a very strong squad and look set for league honours, while the Boys Under-16 of St. Gerald’s College, Castlebar, are also still chasing a league title despite losing. the regional final in St. Louis, Kiltimagh.

Belmullet’s Damien Lavelle is building for the future with two very promising school teams and they are aiming for league titles at Under-16 and Under-19 level.

International

Meanwhile, Finnish sisters Dayna and Hazel, from Kiltimagh, were on international duty with their country last month as Ireland put up a brave performance at Under-20 and senior level.

The senior women were playing with some of Europe’s top teams as they returned to the senior ranks this season, and it’s still a learning curve for these ladies, but all credit goes to them and Dayna Finn, who provided very useful information. performance against very tough opposition.

The same goes for the Girls Under 20, who found things quite difficult, but again, this is a team with a lot of potential and Hazel Finn continues to be one of the main players in the team.

Minor

Mayo’s minor clubs are operational, with Ballina Braves, Ballina Pacers, Castelbar Comets, Kiltimagh Giants, Ballintubber, Castlebar, Charlestown, Crossmolina and Belmullet among the reteams competing at boys’ and girls’ under-14 and under-14 level. Under 16s, and hopefully we’ll see plenty of action on the club scene in the new year.

Former Ballina senior men’s coach Terry Kennedy has also brought together a young side from Mayo who currently compete in a league featuring teams from Donegal, Longford, Roscommon, Sligo and Leitrim.

It is hoped that this will provide a platform for a return to National League basketball next year or in 2023.