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Irish Basketball

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  • damn, he coached me for years and years.




  • Good article about the Cup in the examiner today.


    Future bright as basketball embraces past
    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

    It still has a heart.

    By David Shonfield
    And it can still stop your heart like few other sports can.

    Irish basketball had one of its big weekends the one just past, with the Neptune Stadium and the Parochial Hall pulsating to the sound of music, a bouncing ball and the roars and gasps and screams and shrieks of those who were lucky enough to flock to those old basketball cathedrals on the north side of Cork for the National Cup semi-finals.

    The Friday night men’s clash of UCC Blue Demons and Killester from Dublin was particularly dramatic, as if someone had taken a time tunnel back to 1987 when the same two clubs served up another classic cup semi-final. Just as then a Demons player went to the free-throw line with his side down a point and only seconds remaining. Just as then, the Demons player only made one of the two shots so, just as then, the game went into overtime. This time though, Demons would be the ones to shade it in that extra period, 87-86.

    That 1987 game enjoys a certain immortal status. Playing for Killester that night was Mario Elie, who would go on to not only make the NBA but win three world championships. Their other American, Kelvin Troy, is one of four or five players synonymous with that golden age for the sport. Last Friday night’s game will likewise live in the memory of those who witnessed it, especially Demons die-hards. At the start of the fourth quarter they trailed by 15 points. Their best player, player-coach Colin O’Reilly, was fouled out. Enter young Adrian O’Sullivan from Ballincollig. It didn’t all go to plan. He fluffed his first drive. He was the man who missed one of those two free-throws with just eight seconds to go. But he was still The Man, with his drives and threes and just sheer daring that triggered a sense among the Demons faithful that they might still do it and that creeping dread among Killester folk that they just might blow it.

    Afterwards, as everyone else in the packed stadium struggled to take in the drama they’d just witnessed, this column couldn’t but help think of the cup semi-finals weekend five years ago.

    It was up in the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght, on a Sunday afternoon. About 400 people had been in the place for a riveting women’s semi-final between Glanmire and DCU Mercy. But once it was over, half the crowd left. The two men’s semi-finals were still to come. A drab game between Killester and Tralee was played out in an even drabber atmosphere. The clash between Killester and Neptune that followed was better and closer but everywhere you still looked there were empty seats. For the first time in quarter of a century there were no TV cameras for a men’s semi-final. I was never so despondent about Irish basketball. Basketball, for all its troubles since the ’80s, at least had always had the cup. Now it seemed it had lost even that. That same year I was researching Hanging from the Rafters: The Story of Neptune and the Golden Age of Irish Basketball. I suggested to the Neptune committee and Basketball Ireland that to mark the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Neptune Stadium and Terry Strickland’s legendary Cup-winning basket there that Neptune should host the 2010 cup finals. The Neptune committee at the time were initially reluctant about the idea but it grew on them and when their Superleague team were drawn to play old rivals Demons in the semi-final, they successfully bid to host it.

    It turned out to be an even greater success than even I could have envisaged. I thought it had been a mistake in 2007 to split the semi-finals and finals over different weekends, and that they should be run off over the same weekend as they had been for over 20 years. The way it has transpired, each weekend can stand alone. Neptune and Cork have made the semi-final weekend stand alone. The cup has helped galvanise Neptune just as Neptune have helped galvanise the Cup. Basketball Ireland has stopped running away from the sport’s history, instead embracing it, while creating a new cup tradition, its senior finals now played on Friday nights, up in the Arena, televised by Setanta.

    Adrian O’Sullivan’s father, Francis, played for all three north side superpowers in the ’80s but has been coaching on the south side in Ballincollig for nearly 20 years now. Adrian played for Ballincollig, just like his brother and Demons teammate Ciaran. Last Friday night the club had tens of youngsters up in the stadium.

    “Just for them to experience that buzz, we’ll benefit for 10 years,” says Francis. “It’s like when you saw the likes of Lennie [McMillian] play back in the day.”

    That’s why he bounced out of the Neptune Stadium last weekend. Not just because the son he taught the layup to all those years ago shone on the big stage but that another generation will want to shine and play too. Irish basketball still has issues. Most glaringly, it still has no national team. But as the story of the weekend and the O’Sullivans show, it still has a pulse and a heart, a future as well as a past.




  • http://www.elpasotimes.com/newupdated/ci_23829237/sun-advocate-ex-utep-basketball-player-chris-craig

    Sorry to always be the barer of bad news… was the point guard/coach with the Tigers.

    Great to hear the cup semi weekend went off well, was anyone there? Could make it but watched bits and pieces online




  • stuba wrote: »
    http://www.elpasotimes.com/newupdated/ci_23829237/sun-advocate-ex-utep-basketball-player-chris-craig

    Sorry to always be the barer of bad news… was the point guard/coach with the Tigers.

    Great to hear the cup semi weekend went off well, was anyone there? Could make it but watched bits and pieces online
    Wow that has literally left me speechless. I remember when they won the cup and him and Smallwood were unreal, Donaghy would have been there too. He should have got MVP in that game, but it went to Smallwood(who did have a great game.) That would have been circa 2006 I think. How did you stumble across this as a matter of interest?




  • stuba wrote: »
    Great to hear the cup semi weekend went off well, was anyone there? Could make it but watched bits and pieces online

    Went to the men's semi-finals on Friday. Demons/Killester was just a fantastic game to watch. Killester were coasting by 15 going into the 4th and just fell apart, leading to Demons bringing it to OT. Crowd really came into it on the Demons comeback and were unbelievable for the rest of the game. Great to see a Cork team heading up to Tallaght yet again. Neptune/Inter game kinda went along the same path. Inter pulled out a massive lead but Neptune went on an 4th quarter run to bring it back but Inter did deserve to go to the final


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  • Cheers Dare2defy, sounds like a greats night basketball. When isn't it though I guess, it's some weekend. Both weekends, some value for money. Always has been.

    Buyer95, was raised in the Basketball circles down here in Tralee. Nothing goes passed us, we don't think it does anyway. Heard it back when it happened but never thought to post it here, don't ask why. It is mad though, he was a kid when he was here in Tralee. 2005 It was when we won the cup that time, have the semi final and final on DVD. Must pull it out and give it a watch sometime. That was one of the dream teams of Tralee basketball, Smallwood, Craig, O Hea, Mike Quirke, Star, Roscoe, Teahan.




  • stuba wrote: »
    Cheers Dare2defy, sounds like a greats night basketball. When isn't it though I guess, it's some weekend. Both weekends, some value for money. Always has been.

    Buyer95, was raised in the Basketball circles down here in Tralee. Nothing goes passed us, we don't think it does anyway. Heard it back when it happened but never thought to post it here, don't ask why. It is mad though, he was a kid when he was here in Tralee. 2005 It was when we won the cup that time, have the semi final and final on DVD. Must pull it out and give it a watch sometime. That was one of the dream teams of Tralee basketball, Smallwood, Craig, O Hea, Mike Quirke, Star, Roscoe, Teahan.

    I'm from that neck of the woods also. Some team alright, boy could Craig hit that 3 pointer. It just seems so crazy, from what I remember of the guy he was well mannered, well spoken and worked really hard. He was only about 25 when he was here and came from a good college programme in El Paso where he set the record for most 3's in the colleges history, and led El Paso to the NCAA D1 Tournament in 04 were they played Maryland.

    The whole thing sounds so bizzare, is it possible that he is a schizophrenic? I just looked into where he went after he left Tralee, and he went on to become head coach at a junior college in Utah where he had big success ad from there became head coach at Midland College in Texas. He apparently resigned in March last year in extremely unusual circumstances. The day after he resigned, he posted on his Twitter account and personal blog about end-of-the world prophecies. He also called President Barack Obama a "false prophet" in that blog and wrote that former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was an "anti-christ" and a "false messiah."

    The more I look into this, the more I think Craig has some mental issues and is not really an "Israeli Jihadist." This article in the link gives a more balanced view, interviewing the chaplain of the college he coached at before he resigned, and the guy he lived with after he resigned.http://www.mrt.com/sports/article_241ba966-0dda-5ae3-b1b4-38d208c73de8.html

    "I really think he has some mental health issues that have gone unattended by him," Fox said. "There are things he needed to deal with but hasn't dealt with them. When you have emotional struggle, family difficulties, stress of a season, stress of an addiction and an unhealthy messiah complex, you have a combustible situation." - his pastor. Still shocking, but I hope that it is indeed a mental issue that he can get help with and that he isn't a racist. It sounds like Craig just became overwhelmed and acted in a rash manner, which sounds very like a person going through turmoil in their life and losing the run of themselves.




  • stuba wrote: »
    Cheers Dare2defy, sounds like a greats night basketball. When isn't it though I guess, it's some weekend. Both weekends, some value for money. Always has been.

    Buyer95, was raised in the Basketball circles down here in Tralee. Nothing goes passed us, we don't think it does anyway. Heard it back when it happened but never thought to post it here, don't ask why. It is mad though, he was a kid when he was here in Tralee. 2005 It was when we won the cup that time, have the semi final and final on DVD. Must pull it out and give it a watch sometime. That was one of the dream teams of Tralee basketball, Smallwood, Craig, O Hea, Mike Quirke, Star, Roscoe, Teahan.

    Was Ricardo Leonard not playing at that time too?




  • killwill wrote: »
    Was Ricardo Leonard not playing at that time too?

    He was indeed, still living & working in Tralee




  • He was but dont think he was on the team that won the cup. Had to have 2 Irish on the floor at all times so between the 3 imports and Scoe, playing time was tight enough.


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  • stuba wrote: »
    He was but dont think he was on the team that won the cup. Had to have 2 Irish on the floor at all times so between the 3 imports and Scoe, playing time was tight enough.

    I think he played with Limerick that year? Leonard was probably the best modern American player to play in the super league.




  • He was indeed, still living & working in Tralee

    Working in Limerick ;-)




  • killwill wrote: »
    Working in Limerick ;-)

    Lol, his day job indeed, thought he still did a bit of bouncing here though




  • Lol, his day job indeed, thought he still did a bit of bouncing here though

    Ye must have the best behaved niteclub with a man that size at the door!!!!!




  • Dunno if anyone is watching but the Mens National Final is on now on Setanta Ireland. Glanmire took home the women's cup by beating UL in OT




  • Demons wrap up an excellent night for Cork basketball!!!!!:D:D:D:D




  • Dunno if anyone is watching but the Mens National Final is on now on Setanta Ireland. Glanmire took home the women's cup by beating UL in OT

    Yeah I was watching alright, the womens game was a far better game. Couldn't believe the inept tactics employed by Dublin Inter. In the first half they attempted 26 3's, and only 10 regular field goals, madness :eek::confused:!They played much the same in the 2nd half. How do you expect to win a cup final like that? Fair play to Demons though, they played well, even if they weren't really ever tested. Inter tired noticably I thought in the second half. Would have been a much better final if Killerster or Marian were playing Demons though. Congrats to both Glanmire and Demons though, as you said a great day for Cork basketball.




  • Not sure how relevant this is but said I'd post it cause someone might find it interesting or remember him. Dan Trant, who played with Marian and St Galls (Open to correction on St Galls) was killed in the attacks in 9/11. Was watching clips of Jason Williams with the old man and he said how he reminded him of Dan Trant.

    http://www.legacy.com/sept11/story.aspx?personid=94284




  • stuba wrote: »
    Not sure how relevant this is but said I'd post it cause someone might find it interesting or remember him. Dan Trant, who played with Marian and St Galls (Open to correction on St Galls) was killed in the attacks in 9/11. Was watching clips of Jason Williams with the old man and he said how he reminded him of Dan Trant.

    http://www.legacy.com/sept11/story.aspx?personid=94284

    Jeez, sad to hear that (and I'm only hearing it now :(); played against him, seemed like a genuinely nice guy. Yep, he played for Galls too.




  • Video remembering Dan Trant & 911 here.

    I saw him play and for a point guard he had a lot of energy and scoring prowess. He really was inspirational and one of the guys that helped build the legend (and reality!) of Irish basketball in the 80s.


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  • yea i agree




  • Just watching the 1984 draft Doc that was on NBA TV last night and they have a nice segment on Dan Trant on it. He was the last pick in the draft by the Celtics and they show a few clips of a him playing college ball and Jeff Van Gundy said they he couldn't guard him that he was just too good. Nice piece.




  • stuba wrote: »
    Just watching the 1984 draft Doc that was on NBA TV last night and they have a nice segment on Dan Trant on it. He was the last pick in the draft by the Celtics and they show a few clips of a him playing college ball and Jeff Van Gundy said they he couldn't guard him that he was just too good. Nice piece.


    Is it worth a look overall?




  • stuba wrote: »
    Just watching the 1984 draft Doc that was on NBA TV last night and they have a nice segment on Dan Trant on it. He was the last pick in the draft by the Celtics and they show a few clips of a him playing college ball and Jeff Van Gundy said they he couldn't guard him that he was just too good. Nice piece.

    Don't mean to nit pick, but why are you posting this in the Irish basketball thread?




  • buyer95 wrote: »
    Don't mean to nit pick, but why are you posting this in the Irish basketball thread?

    He used to play in the Irish leagues. And ButtersSuki didn't get a chance to watch it all but it did seem to be a decent watch.




  • stuba wrote: »
    He used to play in the Irish leagues. And ButtersSuki didn't get a chance to watch it all but it did seem to be a decent watch.

    Didn't know that, who did he play for? Must have been one of the earlier recruits if he was drafted in 84 and St Pauls Killarney only got the whole ball rolling with regards to imports around 81 or so.




  • buyer95 wrote: »
    Didn't know that, who did he play for? Must have been one of the earlier recruits if he was drafted in 84 and St Pauls Killarney only got the whole ball rolling with regards to imports around 81 or so.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UCD_Marian

    1984
    Team Yoplait had a very successful campaign in Division 2, finishing a close second behind Liam McHales Ballina, and winning promotion back to the top flight.

    The season was topped off by an International Tournament, which featured Winthrop College from North Carolina, held in Inchicore.

    With renewed vigour and healthy funding, the club faced into 1984-85 season with confidence. Fran Ryan took over as coach and Dan Trant, an exciting guard and Alvis Rogers a 6’8” power forward from Wake Forest were brought in.




  • He's before my time but my dad and all his gang played in the league back then. He'd be raving on about all these players to me growing up. He thinks he might have played in Belfast too for a while, and played in the Roy Curtis in Inchicore too.


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  • I stand to be corrected but don't think he played in the north. A couple of seasons with Marian. A serious player with speed and energy that lit up the court. A huge score as well.

    Played with spud webb when he went back to the states in 87 in the CBA.

    More here from this tribute.

    So many rich stories from Irish basketball in the 80s. Phenomenal time for the sport.

    Dan Trant a gent.


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