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February 14th 2007

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Abbey Vocational School wins National Basketball Cup

The victorious AVS team

A.V.S. 36 St. Conleths 30
The Abbey Vocational U-16 boys took the National cup to the school for the first time, after a tough match against St Conleths’s, Ballsbridge. The game was played in the Nation0al Basketball Arena, Tallaght, a theatre of noise, creating an electric atmosphere that was full of fun. This was due to both sets of supporters who sang, danced and chanted for the duration of the game. The Abbey supporters, led by school principal, Emanuel Mc Cormack, were worth a couple of baskets to our team.
The game itself always looked like it would go down to the wire, with both coaches employing tough defensive strategies, leaving an offensive inside game paying little dividends. Abbey had to be patient and they did this through point guards Ryan Muldoon and Daniel Darby running the offence and keeping the ball moving at pace. Andrew Begley, John Corley and Michael Quinn were in charge under the boards and Jordan Carty picked up two baskets to leave the score 8 -11 to Conleths after the first quarter. The Dublin side went into a four point lead, but baskets from Muldoon and Begley took Abbey back level. A basket for each team saw the half-time score 16 -16.
Coach Kevin Sinclair, assisted by Stephen Carty, kept the Abbey boys composed at half-time and, in the third quarter, they went into a 21-16 lead - but Conleths stayed in touch through Liam Purcell, with the quarter ending 24 - 20 to the Donegal team. St Conleths were strong in the last period but Carty and Mark O’Donnell hit important scores and the buzzing Begley rebounded everything. Most Valuable Player award recipient Carty was a constant threat in the final quarter and team captain Muldoon had to call on all his ball retention skills to keep possession in the pulsating last two minutes. This they did ensuring the National Title was coming to Abbey Vocational School.
The Squad returned to the AVS, with a Garda escort, to a rapturous welcome from families and friends, organized by vice-principal Coleman Lee. School principal Emanuel McCormack thanked coach Kevin Sinclair and his squad for their great effort and victory.
Coach Kevin Sinclair thanked his squad and said they were a great bunch to work with, he also thanked all at the Abbey School for their assistance and the AVS Parents Assoc who rowed in behind the team, generously funding food and accommodation for the final. He especially thanked Sunda Muldoon and Deborah Corley for all their hard work over the previous few weeks.
Kevin acknowledged Donegal Town Basketball Club under chairperson John Kennedy for all the work being done at under-age level in the area and the links being developed with the Abbey Vocational School.
He also thanked all the local businesses for their sponsorship saying “they always help out”. These included Four Lanterns, All Sports, Donegal Tyre Centre, DMG Motors, Begleys Chemist, Donegal Fruit, Browne Motors, Gala, O & I Motors, Abbey Hotel, Sandhouse Hotel, Super Valu.


Willie John McBride at Rugby Night in Abbey

Williie John McBride signing a ball for Club President Charlie McGinty. This was later auctioned for €750.

Last Friday night over 250 people gathered in the Abbey Hotel, for Donegal Town Rugby Club’s Annual Sports Dinner. Among the many fund-raising events on the night, a unique style Bingo, which raised €1,800, and an in-house auction, ably conducted by Keith Anderson. Two tickets for next Sunday’s Ireland Versus England game fetched €2,000, a signed rugby ball by Willie John McBride €750. MC for the evening’s activities was a very capable ‘Big’ Charlie McGinty. Guest speakers include Stan Huey, President of the Ulster Branch IRFU, who, in a jocular manner described the various cults springing up throughout the world. “You had the Davidian cult at Waco, Texas, the Hari Krishna cult, even Donegal RFC has one fella, who is a ‘wee cult’.”
Honoured guest of the night was Willie John McBride voted the greatest second row forward of all time. The Ballymena’s man after dinner speech had the ballroom ringing with laughter. Among the many anecdotes from his playing days, he remarked on the vast differences in the professional status of the game nowadays from his time, commenting “In those days, International Rules dictated that players should only turn up 24 hours before a game, and often, many of the players didn’t know each other that well. I remember one game against France, when we were togging out in the wee wooden hut on the western side of Landwdowne Road. Doors were locked, nobody allowed in. Our coach and fellow player Bill Mulcahy, who is now a doctor in Dublin, said “Well Boys, has anyone any ideas on how we are going to take on these French?”. Benches were kicked, heads banged against walls - then with the adrenalin flowing, the late Gordon Brown shouted “Kill the B…..d’s”. We made a fierce tear out onto the pitch - I dunno if we even took time to open the door. The French didn’t know what hit them in the first 10 minutes.
He read out a letter, dated November 1965, from the IRFU Dear McBride,
As you are aware you are selected on the team to play Wales next weekend in Dublin. I must inform you that if Ireland lose the game, you must hand back in your jersey. If you win or draw the game, you can keep the jersey. If you lose the game and keep the jersey, you will be charged for same!!

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

Tel: +353-74-9722860 Fax: +353-74-9722937