Sunday 25 June 2017

Donaghy stands in way of Templeogue glory

Basketball

Donaghy in action
Donaghy in action

Barry Lennon

Kieran Donaghy stands between a Dublin team and silverware once more tonight as Templeogue bid for their first Super League title against his Tralee Warriors.

Mark Keenan's side will only secure top honours in Inchicore (7.30) if they can beat the Kerry football star in one of his season's last basketball games.

While Keenan praises Donaghy's "unrivalled" influence, he insists his table-topping charges will be unfazed by the 34-year-old.

"We're not going to be intimidated in any shape or form. We've got a good lot of experienced guys as well," Keenan said.

"He (Donaghy) reads the game very well, very similar to his football. But we will be prepared for whatever they throw at us. We have to deal with that threat."

The Kingdom man's high-scoring form matches his efforts off court, as he helped return top-flight basketball to Tralee by merging two local clubs.

His achievements earned him a spot on the national basketball team earlier this week, and he is one of five Ireland players who will be action in the Oblate Hall tonight.

Templeogue will be in safe hands with one of Donaghy's new Irish team-mates Neil Randolph, brother of West Ham goalkeeper Darren.

"Neil came to us after studying in America and a year in England. I've a strong relationship with the Randolph family as I coached with his dad Ed," Keenan explained.

"They play different positions so you can't really compare them but like his dad, he has a great work ethic."

Keenan too has gone the distance during his three years developing the club, travelling to France to sign Jason Killeen when he took up the job.

The Dubliner was determined to sign Killeen, who played for him in Limerick, paying for the trip to Biarritz out of his own pocket.

"It shows the strong relationship that I have with Jason as well. We always wanted to go over there to see him play," he said.

If Keenan's side do the business this evening they'll have Tralee to thank for derailing title rivals Swords' hopes after beating them last week.

"We're determined not let it slip this season. It's there for us. We just can't allow ourselves get over excited," Keenan said.

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