Hoops legends enter Hall of Fame

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

Hoops legends enter Hall of Fame

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.”

President's Lifetime Achievement awards: Andrew Drumm, Donal O’Connor, Joe Byrne, Joey Boylan

National League Men’s Super League Player of the Year: Jason Killeen (Templeogue), Women’s Super League : Allie LeClaire (Liffey Celtics), Men’s Super League Young Player: CJ Fulton (Belfast Star), Women’s Super League Young Player: Sorcha Tiernan (Liffey Celtics), Men’s Division One Player: Andre Nation (Ballincollig), Women’s Division One Player: Claire Rockall (Maree), Men’s Division One Young Player : Dylan Corkery (Ballincollig), Women’s Division One Young Player: Dayna Finn (Maree), Men’s Super League Coach: Pat Price (Tralee Warriors), Women’s Super League Coach: Mark Byrne (Liffey Celtics), Men’s Division One Coach: Darren McGovern (DBS Éanna), Women’s Division One Coach : Joe Shields (Maree)

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