By John Bohane
The Skibbereen Community School U16 boys basketball team recently captured the All-Ireland championship title after they defeated St Joseph’s Rochfordbridge, Mullingar in the National Basketball Arena, Tallaght.
The talented team produced a brilliant display which enabled them to cruise to a 22 point victory. They have now completed a unique treble this season. They have won the county title and they have captured the All-Ireland league and championship titles. This represents a huge achievement for the Skibbereen secondary school.
Their dedicated basketball coach Marie O’Mahony, who coaches a variety of basketball teams in the school is very proud of their stunning achievements. “Hard work, commitment to training, constructive teamwork and passion go a long way in performing at the highest level in any sport. An All-Ireland final is not won on the day, but as a result of the endless hours of dedicated practice that must take place before a team gets to Tallaght. All in Skibbereen Community School are so proud of these wonderful players. My hope is that the leadership, confidence and character shown by these students on the basketball court will stay with them forever. They are great to work with. They are to be commended for their hard work and commitment to training. They are true SCS ambassadors and great role models for the younger students to follow.”
The long serving basketball coach loves working with the students. She loves passing on her coaching knowledge to the enthusiastic basketball players within the school. It is a labour of love for the passionate coach. “Hard work pays off. I coach five teams in the school and all five are currently playing to a very high standard. I generally coach every Monday and Tuesday morning at 7.30am, give up my lunch times and coach after school three times a week including Wednesday from 1.10 until 3.30pm. It is a labour of love which I have been doing for decades.”
Marie loved working with the very talented U16 boys team. She loved their general enthusiasm and their mental strength which were key factors in their All-Ireland success. “It is hard to single out players when every member of the squad put in such a trojan effort throughout the year. There were games en route to the final that tested our players to the limit. Without Tom Kavanagh’s soaring leaps in defence and penetrating drives to the boards, Daniel Buckley’s tigerish defence and Colm Harrington’s tenacious chasing down of our opponents, it is hard to see how the double could have been achieved. I am so proud of every member of this squad. They have grown in confidence, courage and skill over the years. It has been a privilege to work with such a dedicated squad. Back in September when we started training, we knew that we had a great chance of making it happen. Our boys came of age this year.”
The Skibbereen Community School basketball coach is keen to acknowledge all the hard work that went on behind the scenes throughout this historic season. The support she received from her school colleagues, parents and the local basketball club amongst others is greatly appreciated by Marie. “We are lucky to have very dedicated parents like Catherine Kavanagh and Steve Redmond who bring the boys to matches. The Skibbereen parents are absolutely brilliant to support our school teams. We appreciate all those who went to the trouble of making sandwiches, baking and making this year one we will remember for many years to come. We really appreciated the huge crowds who turned out to cheer the lads when we returned home with the All-Ireland titles. I would like to acknowledge the huge influence of coach Steve Redmond on our team and the invaluable work being done within the Skibbereen Eagles Club. I want to acknowledge our school principal Anton O’Mahony and all my colleagues for their great support. The staff at Skibbereen Sports Centre were always a great help. Everyone played a big role in helping us achieve an All-Ireland double.”