Kings back on court at Castlerea Hub

Basketball, like other indoor sports, was amongst the last activities to return following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions towards the end of last year.

  The Castlerea Kings are now back in full swing at The Hub, and they’re also back in familiar territory at the top of the LLR Area Board League after a slow start to the season.

  “We were allowed back training in pods of three initially and we had to sign in through Google and fill out the Covid questionnaires,” said player/coach Tomás Callaghan.

  “Once the vaccine was rolled out it started to get easier but we had to play without spectators for a while because the numbers allowed included referees and table officials, not just the players.

  “The men’s team had just three games before Christmas and the women’s team had two. We were very busy after Christmas with the games coming thick and fast. It’s been a really competitive league this year and we’re now looking forward to an exciting run-in and maintaining our position in the top four”.

  The women’s team, previously known as Castlerea Cosmos, returned in August of last year with young players from Castlerea Community School’s senior team coming on board.

  “There was a good senior team in Castlerea CS and they’re now part of the club. Some of them also play other sports like GAA and they are impressive athletes,” Tomás says.

  “Lisa and Aoife O’Rourke also play but they’re also busy with the boxing which is understandable. The beauty of basketball is that six or seven players can rock up for a game and put on a performance”.

  Despite work, study and other sporting commitments, the Kings have been successful in fulfilling fixtures since the restart, which demonstrates the level of hunger for basketball in Castlerea.

  Looking to the future, Tomás believes it’s important to develop the club’s underage structures.

  “Next year we hope to look at underage development and entering U-16 teams. I’ve taken up a leadership role and we also have Joe Henry involved with schools basketball of course. The aim is to create a really strong club,” Tomás adds.

  “Hopefully with the club teams and the Community Games there will be a lot more basketball being played and plenty of new faces”.