On Friday, Presentation Secondary School, Castleisland held a virtual celebration to acknowledge the achievement of the school’s U-15 girls basketball team.
The coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc with the team’s plans to compete at an international level. However, on this occasion team members: Orlaith O’Connor, Doireann O’Sullivan, Blathnaid Casey, Muireann Walsh, Rebecca Reidy, Ciara Cronin, Clodagh Coffey, Muireann Rahilly, Aoife O’Leary, Hanna Herlihy, Ciara Casey, Chantelle Broderick, Clodagh Delaney, Julia Curtin and coaches Karen O’Connor and Tracey Hartnett had reason to celebrate with the awarding of an Ireland basketball kit and plaque.
Messages of Inspiration for Students
In line with the Coviod-19 restrictions required in all second level schools, guest speakers were invited to contribute a video message for the students.
Kerry GAA stars: Paul Murphy, Gavin White, Shane Enright, Jack Sherwood and East Kerry team members Shane Cronin, Evan Cronin and Michael Foley spoke about the benefits of maintaining participation in sport into adulthood and the value of friendships made through sport.
The Importance of Sport
Local basketballers Seamus Brosnan and Denise Dunlea spoke about the importance of the sport to the locality and the bright future that awaits this fantastic team.
Kerry ladies footballer, Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh detailed the value of increased recognition of female sport in Kerry and the positive impact it has had on her life.
Social media star commentator Buff Egan also expressed his best wishes for the team in his unique and entertaining manner.
Virtual Visit from Coach Enright
The final surprise of the afternoon featured a virtual visit from retired teacher and coach John Enright.
John received a glass presentation from the school acknowledging his outstanding contribution to basketball in Presentation Secondary School Castleisland from 1986 to 2020, an era of unprecedented success which featured 27 All Ireland titles.
Over 30 Years of Success
The team, unique in many ways, not least for being Coach Enright’s last All-Ireland winner in a career of success spanning over 30 years at the school.
The team’s story began in 2019, when the then First Year Presentation Secondary School basketball team secured the title of Ireland’s Best ‘A’ Schools Basketball Team.
Invitation to Croatia
With this prestigious title, came the invitation to attend the International Schools’ Sport Federation (ISF) Basketball Championships in Zadar, Croatia as Ireland’s representatives. This competition sought to involve fifteen countries from all around the world.
The invitation to represent Ireland at this international sporting competition was a most wonderful opportunity which Presentation students, teachers and the wider school community eagerly awaited.
Diligent Parents’ Committee
The team successfully fundraised the cost of the trip with support from a diligent parents’ committee and had all preparations in place when the impact of Covid19 struck European shores in March.
The competition had been scheduled to begin on March 15th 2020 in Zadar but due to the pandemic, the sporting event has now been postponed until 2022.
Significant Commitment Acknowledged
Despite the immense disappointment involved, the school planned this virtual event to acknowledge the significant commitment levels shown by the fourteen team members.
Additionally, participation in an international basketball competition such as this requires significant financial input and the community of Castleisland rose to the challenge.
Representatives of the school wish to thank all who contributed to the fundraising effort and attended the events.
The team, school and wider community of Castleisland look forward to 2022.
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