Donaghy skips trip to steel Tigers

KIERAN DONAGHY has decided to give the All-Star tour to Dubai a skip and make himself available for Irish basketball’s showpiece, on Sunday week, when Tralee’s Abrakebabra Tigers will be bidding to wrest the National Cup from UCC Demons.

Donaghy, hero of Kerry’s victory over Mayo in last year’s All-Ireland football final, was a stand-out for the Vodafone All-Stars trip to Dubai, but, after Tigers had beaten St. Vincent’s to qualify for the final of the National Cup, on Sunday, there was always a chance that he would make himself available for the final.

He informed a delighted Tigers’ coach, Dave Falvey of his decision on Wednesday.

“I am not going to Dubai,” he said. “I am just back from a holiday in Australia with the Kerry footballers, and I don’t need another.

“I need to get myself into shape right now. I trained with the Kerry footballers last night and I think (Kerry coach) Pat O’Shea is happy that I am not travelling with the All-Stars. The National Football League is coming up and I need to give that my full attention.”

Donaghy was named Man of the Match in last year’s All-Ireland final and he has since been named Player of the Year by the GPA.

“Needless to say, I was delighted when he told me late last night of his decision to make himself available for the cup final,” Dave Falvey said. “Our lads are playing very well at the moment and have done very well up to now, but his addition to the squad is going to be a huge boost.”

The question mark over Donaghy’s availability for the cup final against UCC Demons has overshadowed the small matter of tomorrow night’s Nivea for Men SuperLeague clash with Mustang Sally’s/St Paul’s in Tralee.

“People on the outside have been focusing on the cup final, but every Superleague game is important to us and a local derby between ourselves and Killarney is always extra competitive. We are in a good position with regard to the play off stages and we want to keep it that way. There is still a bit to go, and we can’t afford to lose any of our home games.”

The reigning cup champions, UCC Demons, have a home game on Sunday afternoon when they entertain Limerick Lions at the Mardyke Arena in what is a must win tie for both teams.

Demons, as demonstrated against Mustang Sally’s on Sunday, have a bit of momentum going and coach Pat Price will be anxious to maintain that.

Conversely, Matthew Hall must be wondering just what Limerick have to do to get something going after a succession of close losses that has left them languishing at the bottom of the table.

Limerick Lions have a double date with destiny. First up, they entertain Neptune tomorrow night at the UL Arena in what will be the first home game for player-coach Hall.

“We need to have more belief in ourselves in the last five minutes of the games. I know we can compete with any team, but we must keep it going right to the final buzzer. Neptune are going well and will provide tough opposition, but if we compete for 44 minutes we can get a home win,” he said.

Proceeds from this game go to the Chernobyl Children’s fund.

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