Showtime - one of Ireland's biggest ever outdoor basketball exhibition games - is coming to Kilkenny. It will be held on Saturday, July 9 at 6.30pm, in Thomastown.
As part of the newly-formed Berkeley Boys Basketball Camp, the exciting event will showcase the skills of top Irish International, National League and Professional Players in the newly developed outdoor Basketball Amenity in Thomastown.
The newly established and ever-expanding Berkeley Boys Basketball club was set up in September 2019, the new boy's teams, known as the Berkeley Wolves are affiliated with the well-established Girls Berkeley Basketball Club in Thomastown.
Russ Ryan, former player and now coach who together with his wife Trish established the team in 2019 said: "It began in September 2019 when a group of local basketball enthusiasts came together and formed a boy's under 10 team. Up to this point, there was a strong girls club in Thomastown but there were no teams or training available for the boys. We have since established a committee got some new local coaches and set up an under-11 an under-14 team and we are now working on establishing an under-16 team, with kids now coming from Thomastown, Callan, Inistioge, Ballyhale and other surrounding communities."
Mayo native Russ Ryan, who played with the Ballina team that was one of the top Irish teams nationally in the late 80s and mid 90s, said that since starting the boy's teams in Thomastown they have seen basketball get very popular with young kids in the surrounding areas.
With this growing interest and given there was no outdoor courts to play the game during the Covid-19 Pandemic in Thomastown, the local community came together with Kilkenny County Council and other local stakeholders to deliver an awesome new outdoor basketball venue, with outdoor seating for game spectators.
Located in the centre of the town, this Town and Village Renewal development has recently been nominated for a National Pride of Place award and to celebrate its first year, we are delighted to have this exhibition game on the new courts for all to enjoy.
This new amenity also has a large permanent amphitheatre which creates the perfect environment for spectators of all ages to watch this exhibition game. The game will showcase some of Irelands top talents including Irish internationals and professional players and he advises to keep an eye out for some legends of the game from years gone by who will also be in attendance.
"I was delighted that two of the biggest names in Irish basketball would be coming to Thomastown to share their knowledge with the local kids," said Russ.
Originally from Ohio, Deora played Division 1 College Basketball for the University of South Mississippi in the US. He has since played as a professional player for teams in Ireland, Spain Belgium and in the UK. The former PRO has played for 20 years in Ireland and has numerous Division 1, National Cup and Super league titles. He is also two-time Sprite Cup National Cup MVP. A true legend of the game in Ireland.
Terry Kennedy, Deora’s camp partner was one of Ireland’s most successful Basketball Coaches and has the silverware to back it up. He has coached teams that have won National Cup, Super-league and numerous Division 1 titles.
Terry is also a regular invitational coach at well-established Basketball Camps in the US. Terry and Deora have also been working in GAA circles most notably with the Mayo seniors’ men’s football team where they ran the squad through sessions on movement, handling, coordination and spatial drills before later transferring those sessions to grass.
Also joining the camp is Irish International Darragh O'Sullivan who in 2018 led the Ireland U-18 Team to a bronze medal at the European Championships and was awarded an All-Star 5 award following the tournament he was also selected in 2018 as Male Irish International Player of the Year by Basketball Ireland.
With support from Kilkenny Recreational Sports Partnership, the newly branded SETU (South East Technical University), Kilkenny County Council, Basketball Ireland, the Thomastown Community Centre, the Thomastown Community Network and a number of local community volunteers, all of whom have been very supportive the game has been scheduled for 6.30pm on Saturday the 9th of July at the Thomastown Outdoor Recreational Amenity.
Russ explained that thanks to Puff Summer's enthusiasm for the event, we now have some of the biggest names in Irish Basketball taking part, including a number of Irish Senior Men and women International players including Kilkenny’s very own Lucy Coogan.
"This has been a super local community effort, with local volunteers and agencies, doctors, illustrators, photographers, videographers and stewards to name just a few, coming together to present this very special event, after the pandemic experience this is a real celebration of an outdoor amenity that has helped so many enjoy over the last year," said Russ.
"This is like a dream come true for the local kids who will get a chance to play before the main event but also to see these stars of the game exhibit their skills and put on a show for all to enjoy. As our club Chairperson Brendan said 'all of us have memories of events that we saw as kids that have stuck with us as we became adults, and this is one of those events that local kids will remember for many years to come'. Come and join us for this unique and elite basketball fun bonanza."
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