St. Mary’s Basketball Club Christmas Blitz founder, Donal ‘Duke’ O’Connor (seated) with club member and office holders over the years at the 50th Blitz launch at the River Island Hotel, Castleisland on Friday night. Included are from left: Ned O’Callaghan, Tom Kenny, Maurice Casey, Eamon Egan and Dan Lyons. Photograph: John Reidy
The launch of St. Mary’s Basketball Club 50th Christmas Blitz took place in the River Island Hotel on Friday night.
Speakers at the event included Michael John Kearney, chairperson of the Castleisland Chamber Alliance and John Breen, Municipal District area manager.
By Liz Galwey PRO
Both praised the club for its work in organising the event and gave special mention to the founder and tournament director, Donal O’Connor for his insight back in 1970 and his involvement to date.
1,578 Players Expected
This year 169 games will be played over the five days across 22 competitions, 134 teams will participate and 1,578 players are expected to take part.
The Munster Joinery premier men’s competition will include: Keane’s SuperValu, Killorglin, C & S Neptune, Scott’ Lakers St. Paul’s, Limerick Celtics and Garvey’s Tralee Warriors who be seeking to make it four in a row.
Academy Players Make History
The senior ladies competition will be made up of: Team Tom McCarthy’s; Fr. Matthew’s; Brunell and WIT Waterford.
In addition to the usual school and county league competitions the clubs academy players will make history this year.
The stars of the future will play on Friday 27th, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th.
The under fives line out on Friday, Saturday it is the under six players and on Sunday the under sevens these games are at 6.50pm and these players will be the youngest ever to take part in the event.
Many Local Sponsors
The many local sponsors who support the event each year were thanked for their continued involvement as were the four major sponsors; Munster Joinery, Garvey’s SuperValu, Den Joe’s family restaurants and educate.ie.
The club also launched ‘Something Special’ on the night, a publication celebrating the Golden Jubilee Blitz.
It documents fond memories which accumulated over the past five decades – all outlined by the three founding members and chairpersons over the years and compiled by Amber Galwey.
Walsh Colour Print were thanked for generosity in sponsoring the publication.
Presentation to ‘The Duke’
Chairman Eamon Egan thanked his hard working committee who he said have worked tirelessly over the past few months.
A presentation was made to Donal Duke O’Connor, founding member. Eamon said that Donal was a friend and a leader as well as the driving force behind the event and thanked him for his commitment down through the years.
Presentations were also made to Anne, Gráinne and Caoimhe O’Connor for their support of the event.
Blitz programmes and ‘Something Special’ are available for purchase in local shops.
The 50th Annual Blitz will commence on St. Stephen’s morning and will run through December 30th.