Papito Hersisia (dunking) with Dailian Mason, Andrew Fitzgerald, John Brosnan (Manager), Cormac O’Donoghue (Coach), Mark Greene (Captain), Justin Tuason, Maurice O’Donoghue (Scotts Hotel) and Seán O’Brien. Pic: Eamonn Keogh.

St Paul’s Basketball Club Killarney, playing under the Scotts Lakers banner again this season, welcome Fr Mathews of Cork for the first home game of the new National League season in Killarney Sports Centre this Saturday night at 7.30pm.

Launching the new season campaign and sponsorship agreement, Scotts Hotel Managing Director Maurice O’Donoghue said Scotts are delighted to be involved with St Paul’s again this year and he is looking forward to some more big nights at Killarney Sports Centre. He added that the O’Donoghue family and the Gleneagle Group have a long tradition with Killarney basketball dating back almost 40 years. Three generations of the O’Donoghue family have had a great association with basketball in the town and Maurice said they were more than happy to continue with it.

His own father, the late Maurice O’Donoghue, and the recently deceased Paudie O’Connor were two forward-thinking visionary leaders who travelled to the USA to bring the very first American basketballers to Ireland in 1979.

Scotts Lakers coach Cormac O’Donoghue said that it was great to get off to a winning start on the road in Limerick last weekend and everybody is looking forward to the first home game on Saturday. “A big crowd for the home games would give the team a boost and help us gather some momentum to try and climb the league table,” Cormac added.

The league has expanded this year with more teams and extra fixtures. Cormac said the big panel of players will all have roles to play in the 14 games before Christmas, including four back-to-back double-headers in what is quite a punishing schedule.

Scotts Lakers captain Mark Greene said that it was great to bring National League basketball back to Killarney last season after such a long absence. He added that all the players are determined to push on and make a bigger impression on the league this time out.

Scotts Lakers team manager John Brosnan echoed those sentiments and with the addition of some exciting new signings, it is a very strong squad this year. He said that the support from Scotts Hotel along with generous contributions from other club sponsors, local businesses, family and patron season ticket holders make it possible for the team to compete at national level.

Exciting new American signing Seán O’Brien and Dutch power forward Papito Hersisia will both make their home debuts in Killarney Sports Centre this Saturday night. Tip-off is at 7.30pm but supporters are encouraged to arrive early with doors open from 6.30pm.

Check out Eamonn Keogh’s report on last weekend’s victory and Adam Moynihan’s preview of Saturday’s big home game in this week’s Killarney Advertiser