Legendary American basketball coach John Wooden once said “Winning takes talent; to repeat takes character.” And so it proved as Castleisland’s own equally legendary basketball coach, Denny Porter led his U-13 girls’ team to a brilliant All-Ireland Community Games triumph in Athlone last weekend.
Castleisland played the Leinster champions, Westmeath in the semi final on Saturday morning. Castleisland started poorly and nerves were prominent early on. Westmeath’s star player was running the show. In the second quarter Coach Porter spotted a technical misadventure by the opposition’s offensive play that mere mortals wouldn’t see; the match officials were taken to task and fairness resumed.
Like a Scart man once said: “You can’t bate experience”. Castleisland led 7-5 at half time. However, it was in the third quarter that they played their best basketball as their disciplined defence, allied to their superb running game punished the opposition. Castleisland won the game by five points in what was a very close and hard fought game.
Castleisland played Oranmore/Maree of Galway in the final on Sunday morning. Nerves had now well and truly evaporated and Castleisland played some superb basketball in the first and second quarters to lead at half time 15 – 2. Galway came back strongly in the third quarter but exceptional defence by the Island girls held Oranmore/Maree to a single basket. Castleisland dug deep and got their scoring game going again in the fourth quarter to win the final by 21-10.
Denny Porter and Elaine Moriarty worked tirelessly with the team from early in the year and their dedication, effort and determination in coaching and building this team is to commended and is very much appreciated by the members of the team and their families.
It was a fantastic win by a team of ten exceptional stars. Team: Brid Moriarty Captain; Áine Sheehan, Gemma Kearney, Emma O’Regan, Gráinne Walsh, Sadbh Prendiville, Aoife Dunlea, Laura Fitzmaurice, Aishling Kearney and Aoife Kerins. Coach: Denny Porter; assistant coach, Elaine Moriarty.