The Castlerea Kings senior basketball team landed the Longleitros Cup in spectacular fashion on Sunday evening last, ousting unbeaten Longford Torpedos to claim the club’s second title in its history.
A thrilling 77-67 victory in Boyle sealed the deal for Joe Henry’s side after they had overcome Athlone IT in the semi-final 24 hours earlier. Joseph Henry picked up the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award after he spearheaded the Castlerea side’s challenge with a lucrative 29-point haul.
It was also a Sunday to remember for Seán McDermott. After playing a key role in Roscommon’s 2-19 to 2-12 victory against Clare in Ennis, the ex-Nathy’s player was back in Boyle for 6 p.m. to play a major role in his side’s success.
“It was a big one for us,” admitted manager Joe Henry on Monday morning. “We really got it together over the weekend. I know it’s a cliché but it really was a team effort. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen them play as well. There was a great spread of scorers over the two games,” he said.
Castlerea Kings won the competition six years ago during the club’s first year in existence. This year’s team contained a number of players that Henry had coached during their secondary school years in Castlerea. They finished third in the league but pulled off a major coup by getting the better of a Longford Torpedos side that won the league a few weeks ago.
“It was great for everyone. Daniel Doherty, the captain, is in his early forties and I coached him during the 1980s. Michael O’Flanagan is the player/coach and he’s getting married on Saturday week. His best man is Joe Fleming who was also on the team, so there will be a lot of basketball talked about at that wedding,” laughed Henry.
The triumph rounded off a hugely satisfactory year for the club who have been playing their home games in front of packed attendance at The Hub in Castlerea.
“The interest in the game around Castlerea is just phenomenal. A lot of the school kids come down on a Saturday night to support the team. It makes for an electric atmosphere,” noted Henry.
It turned out to be a cup double weekend for Roscommon as the Western Warriors senior women’s basketball team retained their Longleitros Cup with a dramatic 57-55 success in their final. The winning basket came in the final second of the match to procure a famous victory for a team missing the influential Jenny Higgins.
CASTLEREA KINGS: Daniel Doherty (captain), Michael O’Flanagan (player/coach), Joseph Henry, Darius Ivoska, Thomas Callaghan, Seán Moran, John McHugh, Danus Ivoska, Joe Fleming, Josh McDermott, Jorintas Plekitius, Seán McDermott.