The good and the great, the ones who made stellar contributions to Irish basketball at home and overseas, were inducted into Basketball Ireland's Hall of Fame at the weekend.
The late lamented Paudie O'Connor of Killarney was joined by luminaries of the boards like Siobhán Caffrey, Danny Fulton, Liam McHale, Susan Moran and the irrepressible Kelvin Troy at a special gala event at Croke Park.
Caffrey and Moran had the honour of being the first two women inducted into the Basketball Ireland Hall of Fame, while Troy was the first American.
The game's governing body also presented President’s Lifetime Achievement awards to Donal O'Connor, of St Mary's, Castleisland which celebrates its 50th Christmas blitz next December, Andrew Drumm, Joe Byrne (RIP) and Joey Boylan.
Reflected Tullamore's Susan Moran, who has prospered as a collegiate coach in the US: "No matter where I go, I’m so proud to be Irish and I like flying the basketball flag for Ireland. To be nominated for this makes me feel like Ireland might be a little proud of me too, so I’m honoured to be here.”
Ex-Ballina legend Liam McHale sprinkled the plaudits well beyond his powerful frame, and anyone who enjoyed the Mayo surge in the late '80s and '90s will understand why.
This isn’t just an individual award, there was a huge community behind us, we had great support and a great committee and it means an awful lot. We had the time of our lives doing it, and we were lucky we got to compete with some of the best teams.
Accepting the HOF award on behalf of his late brother, Paudie, Seamie O’Connor said: “It’s a huge honour for the O’Connor family and for the people of Killarney. We’re thrilled. As a family, we are tremendously overawed, and we’re delighted to be here.”
Troy spoke movingly and admitted: “It’s so exciting and nerve-wracking and it’s a great achievement, I’m happy now. I’m going to savour this.”
Added Siobhán Caffrey: “It was fantastic to reminisce and to see the passion that is here for basketball and the joy in that room today was incredible.”
Andrew Drumm, Donal O’Connor, Joe Byrne, Joey Boylan
Jason Killeen (Templeogue), : Allie LeClaire (Liffey Celtics), CJ Fulton (Belfast Star), Sorcha Tiernan (Liffey Celtics), Andre Nation (Ballincollig), Claire Rockall (Maree), : Dylan Corkery (Ballincollig), Dayna Finn (Maree), Pat Price (Tralee Warriors), Mark Byrne (Liffey Celtics), Darren McGovern (DBS Éanna), : Joe Shields (Maree)