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Donaghy lauds family-friendly basketball as Tralee get back on track

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Kieran Donaghy. Photo: Sportsfile

Kieran Donaghy. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Kieran Donaghy. Photo: Sportsfile

Kerry basketball stalwart Jimmy Diggins is famed for the energy he has for the sport but insists he can't match Kieran Donaghy's levels.

"The players look up to him. I even look up to him myself. He's an unbelievable character. I never came across, in all my years of sport, a guy like Kieran Donaghy," the Tralee Warriors team manager admits.

"The energy he has. The positivity he has. I've a touch of it myself but if we could bottle Kieran Donaghy's we'd make a fortune out of it."

However, the former Kingdom footballer himself admits he's not always tireless and so welcomes basketball's new regional conferences, which will see teams spend less time on the road.

Donaghy's Warriors will twice face teams in the new southern conference and once from the northern conference in new plans for the Super League this season.

"Look, I'm a dad with two kids so the seven or eight trips to Dublin and the Belfast trip every year were hard, there's no doubt about it," Donaghy says.

"You're working all week and then you're leaving Saturday morning at 11.0 and then you're not back until 2.0 in the morning. That's that day gone from the weekend.

"Then you're probably sore and tired on Sunday morning and then you've the kids lying on top of you. I think it (the new plan) has been done well, the way it's been organised."

Covid-19 has forced this latest rethink and the crisis may give clubs an added financial headache if crowds can't attend games come the season's start in October.

Alternative

Donaghy's suggests paid streams as one alternative and notes that the new regional structures will cut down on travel costs for teams as well as more derbies to attract supporters.

"But for me the large crowds make this work, there's no point in having spotlights and smoke machines if there's nobody in the hall. That part is very important to us and teams enjoy coming down playing in that atmosphere," the 37-year-old adds.

Tralee Warriors are yet to announce a new coach for this season following the departure of the Kinsale-based Pat Price.

The American coach left after the team just missed out on the league honours to Belfast Star having been docked points over a player's eligibility. Donaghy, though, is keen to get back to winning ways.

"Nobody ever came down not wanting to play (here). We've made strides. We want to continue doing that."

Irish Independent