WHILE it's still a case of trying to get things off the ground for a lot of different sports organisations in January as they prepare for the coming year in their respective disciplines, Basketball teams usual find themselves at the business end of things come the start of the New Year and Team Garvey's St Marys find themselves preparing for their fourth National final in five years, looking to replicate their 2010 success over the same opposition Blue Demons in Saturday's final in Tallaght.
Player/Coach Brian Clernon credits the 'Blitz' run by the Castleisland club over the festive season as being ideal in getting the players focussed for stages such as this.
"You get a lot of competitive games throughout that week of Christmas and it's definitely a bonus for us in terms of keeping the boys in shape and it gives you experience of opposition that you would not usually be accustomed to and it can be far more helpful than training over the same period I find," he told The Kerryman.
Ahead of the final, Clernon said that they what to expects from Demons.
"We know them a lot better than we do Killester and that maybe was a factor somewhat in our performance because we didn't really know Killester's personnel of style of play whereas we would have a far better idea of how to prepare for Demons. They're very organised from what I've seen of them and bringing Cormac O'Donoghue in has made a huge difference to them," he said.
Despite the fact that the county has been without a Superleague Basketball team for a number of years since the departure of both Tralee and Killarney from the National stage, Clernon still feels it's important that the county is represented on the National stage on occasions like the coming weekend in the country's main Basketball area.
"Obviously we're represented Castleisland first and foremost in a situation like this but I think it's important that there always is a team from Kerry taking part in a final at some level in the Nationals whether that be in either the Ladies or the Mens. You see that with the amount of support that the teams that make the finals usually get from their clubs," the Garvey's player/coach said.
It's amazing to think that the team has got this far without one of their main talismen in the form of Limerick's John Galvin, the Gaelic footballer injuries also having an impact on his basketball exploits. However in advance of the final Clernon is still trying to figure out in his own mind where the game might be won or lost.
"I would say both teams have advantages on their own respective sides. We're trying to look at getting as many rebounds as possible but it certainly will be tight all the way. We don't really want to allow Demons to dictate the game in any way and we're hopeful that if we play to our own strengths then it will go our way in the end."