By Kieran Murphy
WOMEN’S national superleague basketball is coming to Carlow.
On Saturday at IT Carlow, the college team maintained their 100% record in the National League with a 63-60 win over Oblate Dynamoes. They travel to second placed UL Huskies in Limerick on Saturday looking to end the season with that record intact. Irrespective of what happens now in the 2017-18 season, IT Carlow will host the cream of Irish club basketball sides including Ambassador UCC Glanmire, Courtyard Liffey Celtics, Pyrobel Killester, Maxol WIT Wildcats and Portlaoise Panthers next season.
What makes this achievement all the more remarkable is that IT Carlow set a target of five years to make it this far but did so in only three years.
“It has been 12 years in the making,” says coach Martin Conroy who recalled promotions from the Midland League and the National League to where they are now. “We hoped that in five years we would make the Superleague. We turned it around in three years which is pretty good.”
Conroy knew he had a good squad this year and targets were set.
“We set a goal to go through the league unbeaten. We have one game left.
It is hugely important we reach the goal we set ourselves.”
Underage international player Amy Dooley from Old Leighlin is the only local player on the team. In Jamiyah Bethune, who came from top USA college side Monmouth University, they have a superstar.
“Jamiyah is the fourth top scorer in the league, top assist in the league and top stealer. She has been phenomenal for us in the league and since Christmas has had only one game where she hasn’t had a triple double. This is unheard of in basketball,” explains Conroy.
The Superleague draw will be made during the summer. In September the competing clubs will be allowed to make applications for changes but after that fixtures are set in stone. Conroy is looking forward to it.
“All the big clubs will be coming. It is here we want to be and this is a great achievement for us.”
IT Carlow: Megan Dunne (co-captain), Christine O’Gorman (co-captain), Jamiyah Bethune (USA), Megan Cambell (USA), Ciara McCarthy, Holli Dunne, Amy Dooley (Carlow), Amy McGuire, Laia Clark Rios (Spain), Niki Kelly, Elaine Kennington