‘The Duke’ Picks up Basketball Ireland’s Supreme Honour

Basketball Ireland President, Theresa Walsh presenting her award to Donal ‘Duke’ O’Connor in Croke Park at the weekend.

The Basketball Ireland citation for its award to Donal ‘Duke’ O’Connor reveals almost everything you’d need to know about the recipient.

The dedication, the devotion, the community service and the sheer bloody mindedness to get an event off the ground here in the Castleisland of 1970 – and to be still at the helm and preparing for the 50th anniversary of the founding of that event.

Announced on April 11th., the inaugural Basketball Ireland President’s Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented at the  weekend in Croke Park and ‘The Duke’ picked up his well merited award.

Congratulations Donal.

A bite of the citation here will give you a flavour of how merited that award really is and you can read more with a click on the link at the end.

“Ask anyone in the basketball community to think of Christmas and only one thing springs to mind – the St Mary’s Castleisland blitz.

In 1970, Donal O’Connor approached a group of friends with the idea of a basketball blitz to brighten up the days after the Christmas holiday.

He went on to convince the owner of the local dance hall to allow them to put in basketball rings by day, and that first year, the event was a roaring success – with games over two days, with 12 teams, 18 games, 10 hours of basketball and 350 people in attendance.

In 1976, the blitz moved to the newly built Community Centre.

By 1988, the blitz had become so big that a second venue was added. Now, in the present day, the blitz runs in two venues over five days with the 2018 blitz seeing 164 games, 22 competitions, 93 hours of basketball and a record-breaking 13,000 people in attendance.

2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of the blitz and Donal O’Connor is still at the helm, driving the event forward.”

For more simply click on the link here: https://www.mainevalleypost.com/2019/04/15/the-duke-on-basketball-presidents-lifetime-achievement-awards-list/

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