Thursday 23 February 2017

Basketball: Donaghy and Quirke return to court with St Brendan's

Neil Ahern

AFTER two years away, Kerry football stars Kieran Donaghy and Michael Quirke will make their eagerly-awaited return to the Irish game this weekend -- but in less glamorous circumstances than usual.

Team Meadowlands St Brendan's, Tralee's only representatives this year, play in the second tier of Ireland's senior league and they face a testing Munster derby in their first game of the season against Neptune. The dual stars, who between them have won every honour in Gaelic football and Irish basketball, haven't played basketball since leaving the Tralee Tigers in 2008.

However, with Kerry's early exit from the All-Ireland champion-ship, St Brendan's Coach Vinnie Murphy saw an opportunity to encourage Donaghy and Quirke to join the Team Meadowlands/St Brendan's set-up, and what a coup it is for the club and for lovers of Kerry basketball.

"It is the game I played and I'm probably stronger at it than Gaelic football, so in some ways it is my first sport," said Quirke.

"There was an opportunity to play basketball for the winter and when St Brendan's expressed an interest, I jumped at the chance.

Donaghy, meanwhile, is looking forward to teaming up with his brother on the court.

"I was saying to my younger brother Conor, who is a St Brendan's player at the end of last season, that I would love to play with him this season.

"I was half joking at the time, but then when Kerry got knocked out of the championship earlier this year, it seemed the right thing to do."

Irish Independent

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