St. Mary’s 46th Blitz Set New Crowd Records

Therese Healy who was selected as Miss Basketball 2015 for the 46th annual blitz. Photograph: Joe Hanley

St. Mary’s Basketball Club has pulled off its five-day spectacular blitz and created the 46th link in the unbroken chain. The tournament was a huge success overall with record crowds attending both venues over the five days.

Report by Liz Galwey PRO

On finals day, presentations were made to Fr. Noel Spring, St. Mary’s Basketball Club president to mark his recent silver jubilee and also to the 2015 U14 girls team who were the first Kerry team to win an All-Ireland ‘A’ club championship.
Therese Healy was name Miss Basketball 2015 and took on the task of presenting trophy and medals to finalists from 23 different competitions. Some major awards were presented to acknowledge the high standard of some players at the tournament, Fergal O’Sullivan of St. Brendan’s Basketball club won Best overall male, Aoife Nolan St, Mary’s won Best overall female, best local male went to Eoin O’Sullivan, KCYMS, best local female was Noreen Ferris St. Mary’s, best juvenile boy was Tadhg O’Shea and Sarah O’Sullivan won best juvenile girl.
Premier Men
One of the highlights of the tournament was the premier men’s section which was run off on December 29th. Favourites for this had been Superleague side GCD Swords Thunder and they did not disappoint. They had met locals Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin in the last of the qualifying games and this was a game that would have been worthy of being a final. It was the highlight of the premier section with the division one side being the only team to come close to matching Thunder and losing by only four points.

St Mary's U-14 Girls who defeated TK Bobcats in their final at Castleisland Community Centre on Wednesday. Photograph: Joe Hanley
St Mary’s U-14 Girls who defeated TK Bobcats in their final at Castleisland Community Centre on Wednesday. Photograph: Joe Hanley

GCD Swords Thunder went on to meet U.L. Eagles in the final. U.L. opened the scoring and took a five point lead before Thunder hit a basket but from here in it was Thunder who controlled the first half. At the interval the scoreboard read 18 points to nine in favour of the Dublin side. U.L Eagles registered two early threes at the start of the second half but MVP for the game, Mike Garrow responded in kind to keep his side ahead. Eagles came back to within four points but Thunder gave away nothing from the remainder of the game and took the Munster Joinery Premier men’s title by 13 points.
Final Score: GCD Swords Thunder 37 U.L. Eagles 24
MVP for this game was Thunders American player Mike Garrow from Connecticut.
Premier Ladies
The final game of the tournament was the Premier ladies which closely contested and a perfect closing act. A very strong, young Brunell side took on the local Team Denjoes. Just a single point separated the sides for most of the match. Late scores

Enjoying the St Mary's Basketball Club 46th annual Basketball Blitz were:  Michelle Broderick, Ballymacelligott (left) with Anna Hughes and Catherine O'Connell, Scartaglin. Photograph: Joe Hanley
Enjoying the St Mary’s Basketball Club 46th annual Basketball Blitz were: Michelle Broderick, Ballymacelligott (left) with Anna Hughes and Catherine O’Connell, Scartaglin. Photograph: Joe Hanley

from Neasa Sheehy and Miriam Rollan gave the home side a five point lead at the interval. Team Denjoes extended their lead early in the second half but a three from Brunell’s Amy Murphy kept them in the game. A steal by Aoife Nolan set St. Mary’s Seodhna O’Donoghue up for a basket but again Brunell hit back. The home side went seven up again as the clock ran down but two from Brunell’s Alex Machets and three from Andrea Moynihan brought the Cork girls back within reach and with three on the clock the sides were level before Sinead Warren made two free throws to put Brunell ahead for the first time in the game. They went on to go five ahead before Denjoes Miriam Leane reduced the gap. A free throw saw the Cork girls go up four and once again Miriam Leane gave hope to the home team bringing it back to a two point game but Brunell made good from the free throw line. The St. Mary’s girls attempted to get that much needed three points as the clock ran down but to no avail.
Final score: Team Denjoes 28 Brunell 31 MVP: Andrea Moynihan Brunell.
Highlights from some of the other finals are as follows:
District N.S. Boys Junior B O’Brennan V Muire Gan Smal
Just three point separate the sides at half time but BNS gradually took control as the second half progressed. Some good performances from Mint O’Connor and Kian Downey led to their lead increasing as the clock ran down. O’Brennan fough hard and with 1.20 remaining only four points separated the sides. A basket from Downey going into the final minute was responded to by O’Brennan’s Jack Slattery but BNS Brian O’Leary hit his fourth score of the game to take the win for BNS.
Final score: O’Brennan 8 BNS 13 MVP Kian Downey.
District N. S. Boys Senior B Boys N. S. V Currow N.S
The first half was close with just three points separating the sides at half time. As the second half progressed a spread of scores from the Currow side saw their lead increase substantially. Great performances where had from Currows Adam Healy and John Curtin while Micheal O’Se was strong for BNS.
Final Score: BNS 9 Currow 18 MVP Darragh Kelly – Currow
District N.S girls Junior A Scartaglen N. S. V Currow N. S.
Scartaglen led five points to two when Julia Curtin sank the first basket for her side. It was a close battle for most of the first half but a late score from Scartaglen saw them hold a five pint lead at the interval. Currow had a lot of possession in the second half but found it difficult to score. Scartaglen proved to be too strong and some excellent ball handling skills contributed to an eight point win
Final Score Scartaglen N.S. 19 Currow N.S 11 MVP: Ciara Casey – Scartaglen
U16 Girls St. Mary’s Red V Maree
St. Mary’s Sarah O’Sullivan opened the scoring in for the home side and Kayla O’Connor quickly added another before Maree’s Dayna Finn registered the first score for the Galway side. The home side defended well but many of their offensive passes were intercepted by the opposition. Both Allison Blaney and Dayna Finn were strong for Maree who pulled away to hold a six point lead at the interval. Nicole Downey hit St. Mary’s first score of the second half, Maree responded but Maeve Young hit back again for Mary’s. Maree were strong under the boards and continue to register scores but St. Mary’s fought back to reduce the gap and made a huge comeback as a pass from Nicole Downey set Shauna Ahern for a basket and a bonus. Another Ahern score left just two points between the sides but a determined Maree were not to be outdone and matched Mary’s basket for basket.
Final Score: St. Mary’s Red 22 Maree 26 MVP Dayna Finn – Maree
District NS girls Senior ‘A’ Kilmurry N.S. V Scartaglen N.S.
Kilmurry took an early four point lead but by mid-way through the half Scartaglen had levelled. Once again Kilmurry pulled ahead but by half time only a basket separated the sides. Scartaglen hit three fast baskets early in the second half to go ahead for the first time but Kilmurry made a spectacular comeback with some great scores from Ava Fitzmaurice. With 30 seconds remaining Fitzmaurice hit a basket to level and take the game to three minutes of additional time.
Aoife Kerins made the first score in additional time for the Kilmurry girls. Scartaglen’s Rachel O’Sullivan responded. Two fantastic passes set Ava Fitzmaurice up for a basket as tension ran high in a jam packed hall. Rachel O’Sullivan added a point to Scarts tally but despite their best efforts they could not make up the much need score.
Final score Kilmurry 18 Scartaglen 17 MVP Abbie Mahony Scartaglen NS.
Division 1 Ladies. St. Mary’s V Killarney Cougars
This final was without doubt a game of two halves. At the interval Cougars were in control but they let their guard down to an experienced St. Mary’s side in the second half. Scores from Doreen Bradley and Roisin Casey put the home side ahead with 1.27 on the clock. Cougars were in foul trouble and both Noreen Ferris and Bradley took advantage of this to put St. Mary’s ahead.
Final Score: St. Mary’s 20 Killarney Cougars 16 MVP Doreen Bradley.
District N.S. Boys junior A Gael Scoil Aogain v Scoil Nuachabhail
This was a close and exciting game with the sides level up to mid-way through the second half when Gael scoil’s Padraig O’Se and Eoghan Shire put their side ahead. Nuachabhail came back throughscores from Michael Prendergast and David Lucid but fast breaks from Shire and two free throws from Billy Breathnach sealed the win for Gael Scoil Aogain.
Final score: Gael Scoil Aoghan 17 Scoil Nuachabhail 12 MVP Eoghan Shire Gael Scoil
Division one men St. Mary’s V Castlebar St. Brendan’s
The sides were evenly matched for the early part of the game but St. Mary’s got into foul trouble which cost them as St. Brendan’s took full advantage from the free throw line. At the interval St. Brendan’s held a seven point lead, Kieran Donoghy making a huge difference inside for St. Brendan’s. Second half scores from Philip Griffin and Mike Brosnan reduced the gap but Darren O’Sullivan hit two quick baskets to keep the Tralee side ahead. Mike Cronin and Declan Culhane brought it back to five with just over three minutes remaining. Culhane hit another to bring it to a three point game but this was short lived as both Darren & Fergal O’Sullivan made scores to take the win despite a late Culhane basket for the home side.  Final Score: St. Mary’s 22 Castlebar St. Brendan’s 27 MVP Darren O’Sullivan