Blitz Blow for Castleisland as St. Mary’s Make Tough Call – Again

Golden Jubilee: St. Mary’s Basketball Club’s Christmas Blitz founder, Donal ‘Duke’ O’Connor at the launch of the 50th  and 2019 blitz at the River Island Hotel in Castleisland. Sadly, this year’s blitz has had to be cancelled due to rising COVID-19 numbers in recent weeks.  ©Photograph: John Reidy 6-12-2019


For the second year in succession, the committee of St. Mary’s Basketball Club has had to make a responsible but tough decision regarding its 51st Christmas Blitz.

Normally preparations for the five day event would begin in early September; however, this year was no different to 2020, and after many meetings and much discussion a difficult but inevitable decision was arrived at this week.

Several Options Considered

Committee members have been asked time and time again over the past few weeks whether the event would take place this year and, as was the case 12 months ago, several options were considered.

Some of these were the prospect of reducing the days, hours and competitions.

The decision was held off in the hopes that circumstances around COVID-19 improved but the recent rise in numbers was the deciding factor.

The Responsible Decision

Once again it was felt that this is the responsible decision to make as the safety of participants and spectators could not be guaranteed.

The event has always been known to be a top class tournament which ran smoothly and on time for the duration, providing five days of sporting entertainment in a safe and friendly environment.

It was felt that if there was any risk to the safety of patrons, of which there were well over 13,000 over the five days in 2019, that the club should not take this risk.

‘The Blitz’ Will be Back

It is important to emphasise that ‘The Blitz’ will be back. The club and committee members are devastated to have had to make this decision but are 100 per cent committed to making sure that the blitz will be back.

Club chairman Eamon Egan said that the decision was a heartbreaking one to make. “We did not make the decision to cancel this year’s Blitz easily.

A Huge Loss to Families

“We realise that it will be a huge loss to families locally and to everyone in the broader basketball community but we feel that we have no option.

“Once again, it is the responsible decision to make and while there will not be a blitz this year it will continue in the future.

“It is part of Christmas here in Castleisland and beyond and something that we all look forward to,” said Mr. Egan.

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