Garda Blitz: 11th Annual Castleisland Garda Blitz makes it a good Friday for Basketballers

Last Good Friday at Castleisland Community Centre saw the 11th Annual An Garda Siochána/KDYS basketball blitz take place.  The event was organised by Liz Twomey Garda JLO Castleisland Garda Station and Helena Falvey Youth Justice worker, KEY Service KDYS.   

The event was hugely supported by both participants, parents, volunteers and supporter this year although a clash with a number of events meant that the number of teams was down slightly from other years. 

Eight teams took part over Primary, U15 & U18 with approximately 70 participants on the day with great excitement and heart stopping finals.  Our sponsors on the day were Vincent Murphy Sports, Supervalu, Centra and the Marketstall.  

This event each year is not possible without the assistance of our loyal volunteers of referees: Majella Moloney Ahern, Garda Mary Gardiner Tralee Community Policing, Nathan Egan, Maurice Casey, Eamon Egan who was on call out but still checked in on the event during the day. Table officials:  Tommy and Leah Boyle, Aoibhín and Caoimhe O Mahony and Aoife Bourke.  KDYS youth justice worker Geraldine O’Meara kept everyone satisfied with lovely refreshments during the tournament.  Thanks to Gardaí Cecilia Scanlon, Mike Courtney and Brian O Shea youth justice worker for assisting with the event.  

This event is a true testament to the Castleisland and surrounding areas for keeping the event going as they have a love of basketball and support the youth to be active over the Easter break.  Helena Falvey (joint organiser) spoke to the crowd present applauding them for the efforts with the tournament and thanked the continued support of sponsors of the annual event.

In the Primary Games four teams took part in a round robin series of games with the top two teams going forward to the final.  Teams taking part were Lucky Charms, Slán le do Rúitín, F4 Rockets and Warriors.  There was great support throughout these games and brilliant basketball played by all involved.  Through to the final were F4 Rockets and Warriors which was going to be a close encounter going on the earlier game which saw Warriors win by a basket and a repeat of last year’s final where Warriors won by a basket.  This final was heart stopping throughout with the teams’ level on two occasions at the start of the first half and Cian Downey sinking a free throw to put Warriors ahead on 6-5 at half time.  In the second half with Simon O’Leary brought F4 Rockets back to level on 9-9.  A good run of play by Warriors saw them go ahead and with just a few seconds on the clock in a show stopping shot by Gearoid Evans the teams were level on the final whistle much to the delight of the crowd on a score of 11-11.  Three minutes of extra time was added on and both Coaches Gerry and Joanne got their teams ready for the last few minutes of the game.  Warriors got off to a better stat with two sets of free throws and two being scored, again the game was brought back to level by F4 Rockets but in the last minute and a half Warriors managed to get three unanswered points to take the title.  This was an absolutely fantastic game of basketball and all players should be so proud of their efforts on the day.  Farranfore Rockets team:  Daithi O’Shea, Colm Riordan, Luke Henderson, Simon O’Leary, Gearoid Evans, Michaela O’Meara, Katie Doe.  Coach: Gerry O Leary.  Warriors: Shauna Wilkinson, Amy McCarthy, Amy Curtin, Eoghan Shire, Larry Nolan, Kian Downey, Evan Brennan, Chris Devan, Coach: Joanne Downey. The trophy was presented by Garda Liz Twomey and accepted by joint captains: Shauna Wilkinson and Chris Devan making it two in a row for Warriors.  MVP of the tournament was awarded to Katie Doe, F4 Rockets.

In the U15 category two teams took part Bball Buddies and F4 Flyers the teams played two games, in the final F4 Flyers went into the game on +2.  This game was a very close encounter throughout and at half time 8-11 to Farranfore Flyers.  Farranfore got off to a better start but this didn’t deter the BBall Buddies and they kept fighting back to go ahead in the dying seconds.  With 5 seconds in the clock quick thinking for the F4 Flyers coach Gerry O Leary called a time out and got the team set for a play with a superb shot by Katie O Leary to bring the game to level on the hooter, with the crowd going crazy for another period of extra time.  In extra time F4 got a free throw and scored one and then Warriors scoring a basket to put them one point ahead.  This game was played at ferrous speed and great enthusiasm by all players.  Bball Buddies won on a score of 21-19.  Team: Mint O Connor, Patrick O Shea, Ruairi Bourke, Shane Browne, Rebecca Reidy, Muireann Rahilly, Muireann Walsh and Clodagh Delaney.  Coach: Grainne Walsh.  The trophy was presented by Gda Mary Gardiner and accepted by joint captains: Shane Browne and Rebecca Reidy.  Runners up F4 Flyers: Noah Moynihan, Liam Evans, Josh Vermiglio, Colm O Shea, Katie O Leary, Claire Stagg and Darren Deniel. Coach Gerry O Leary.  MVP was awarded to Patrick O’Shea.

In the U18 section we had two teams St Anne’s and York United who played round one and then a final.  St Anne’s went into the final on +9.  It was York United who put in the early baskets but St Anne’s fought back and returned seven unanswered baskets, this didn’t phase York United who took it all in their stride and smiled throughout.  Half time score 24-8 and in the final again York United clawed back some points but unfortunately it wasn’t enough and St Anne’s won on a final score of 28-13, a third final for the St Anne’s club on the day.  The trophy was present by Majella Moloney Ahern to a delighted St Anne’s team.  Team: Cian Ring, James O Leary, Andrew Moynihan, Tadhg Riordan, Daragh Brosnan, Katie Brosnan and Martha Fitzgerald. Coach: Gerry O Leary.  York United: Katie O Connor, Cian Murphy, Aoife Walsh, Grainne Walsh, Daragh Kelly, Billy Conway and Sean Cronin.  MVP:  Katie Brosnan St Anne’s. 

Thanks to Garda JLO and youth justice workers working together under the KEY Service which is funded by the Ireland EU Structural and Investment fund and the ESF fund through the Irish Youth Justice Service.

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