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Nets eyes Éanna's first cup in Dublin derby

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Nets helps run a basketball academy with Macauley in the north inner city of Dublin – a town
he considers home since moving to Ireland aged six. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Nets helps run a basketball academy with Macauley in the north inner city of Dublin – a town he considers home since moving to Ireland aged six. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Nets helps run a basketball academy with Macauley in the north inner city of Dublin – a town he considers home since moving to Ireland aged six. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Éanna's Hillary Nets eyes National Cup glory tonight, the culmination of a journey which began in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe before a stint at Ballyboden St Enda's.

The shooting guard's lessons from playing underage Gaelic football with the Dublin club were put to good use recently, beating Kieran Donaghy's Tralee Warriors in a physical semi-final.

The 26-year-old has also shared a basketball court with 'Boden clubman Michael Darragh Macauley, who played for Éanna in the 2017-'18 season. Nets, who gave up football after discovering basketball, observes a similar physical approach with the seven time All-Ireland winner on the court.

"Michael Darragh has a certain… eh… (GAA) finesse to him that's aggressive. He hits hard. But he's an unbelievable athlete. The guy runs the floor and goes for every rebound. He was good for us," Nets says. "He played a couple of games but I think he just didn't have enough time because he's about seven different jobs. I think he felt it was better for him to step down."

Nets helps run a basketball academy with Macauley in the north inner city of Dublin - a town he considers home since moving to Ireland aged six.

With mum, a doctor and dad, a nurse, they left Zimbabwe in 1999 to fill the shortfall in health care workers in Ireland. Nets, his brother and three sisters followed them.

After retirement they returned home, but Nets has remained in Ireland pursuing basketball, his graphic design business and his psychology studies in DBS.

"My whole up-bringing has been Dublin. It's my home. Ireland is my home. I am more Irish than I am Zimbabwean," he says.

Nets admits visits back to Zimbabwe have been few and far between, most notably to play for the national team in 2016 for African championship qualifiers.

The country seems to be on the cusp of renaissance having suffered more than its fair share of hardships under former president Mugabe. "People are just hopeful for the future because the past president wasn't very… eh… positive, let's say," says Nets.

Templeogue, who are level on points in the league, stand in Éanna's way of a maiden cup triumph tonight (8.0) at the National Basketball Arena.

"They're really going to bring the competition to us. It's going to be the game of the weekend, the game of the year," Nets says.

Indo Sport