Kilkenny City will be the Mecca for all basketball followers this weekend.
The national finals 2016 are being staged for the first time in the Watershed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
And there will be local involvement on Friday (8pm) at least, when Team Kilkenny play Kubs (formerly Killester) BC in the League Cup semi-final.
A big game
“This is a big game for us, but we are hopeful,” insisted Team Kilkenny chairman, Noel Murphy, whose club and the South East Basketball Board are hosting the event.
All the action will be in the Watershed, and if all goes well, the venue could be in the running to host the finals again.
“We asked to be allowed stage the finals, and we are determined to do a top job,” Mr Murphy insisted.
Down for decision are the under-18 men’s Shield final (Friday), Kilkenny’s League Cup semi and on Saturday the second League Cup semi between Maree and Keanes SuperValu; the two Champions Trophy semi-finals, plus the women’s Division I play-off final.
On Sunday (10am start) the under-18 women’s national Shield decider will be played, followed by the League Cup final (12 noon), women’s Premier League play’-off final (2pm) and the Champions Trophy final (4pm).
“We have the cream of Irish basketball in Kilkenny over the weekend,” Noel Murphy insisted.
A small army of volunteers, including members of the Kilkenny Stars, the under -age arm of the club, has been assembled to help cop with the followers from all over the country.
Basketball Ireland, the organisers of the competitions, will bring their own experienced people to help out.
The local organisers have been working in co-operation with local accommodation providers to help meet the needs of the visitors.
“Kilkenny is a hard place to get accommodation anyway,” Noel Murphy reminded, “but things appear to be working out well.
“This is the biggest event on the basketball calendar,” he added. “Usually it in the Tallaght Arena or wherever, but the Watershed is up there with the best of venues.
“All going well, this will be the start of really good things to come for the game here. Team Kilkenny have a very strong chance of doing well.
“We enjoyed a good season and are unbeaten in the Watershed. We lost one home game last year.
“We are in the top four in the men’s National League,” he pointed out.