Kerry footballer Kieran Donaghy will again juggle Gaelic football and basketball commitments after it was confirmed he will be part of Tralee Town BC’s squad for the upcoming National League season.
It is the first time in seven years a team from Tralee will compete in the top tier of Irish basketball and the four-time All-Ireland winner will be on the roster in their maiden season.
“There’s a huge buzz around with Kieran coming back”
The team is a collaboration between local clubs Tralee Imperials and 2016 Hula Hoops Men’s National Intermediate Cup Champions St. Brendan’s and the addition of Donaghy, the MVP in the final in January, is a huge fillip for the club.
“There’s a huge buzz around with Kieran coming back,” Tralee Town BC Chairman John Dowling said.
“It wouldn’t have been possible to make the step up without both clubs working together and people feel like this is going to be a team for the town of Tralee.”
Donaghy gave one of the finest performances ever witnessed on an Irish basketball court in January when he became the first player in the history of finals weekend to complete a treble double, finishing with 26 rebounds, 18 points and 12 assists.
The basketball season will have little disruption to his Kerry commitments as it runs from the last weekend in October to the middle of March. With the top tier's expansion to 12 teams, Donaghy can expect to play 22 League games in the regular season and a maximum of four games in the Hula Hoops National Cup.
In 2005 he won a National Cup title with the Tralee Tigers and was also named the player of the year.
The three-time All Star missed the first two games of this year's Allianz Football League, but started the rest of the Kingdom's fixtures where they reached the final only to be beaten by 11 points by rivals Dublin.
Donaghy scored a point in the final and has been used by manager Eamon Fitzmaurice predominantly in a midfield role in the early part of the season.
Tralee Town BC have also confirmed that Mark Bernsen will be returning to Kerry as Head Coach.
The American won the Men’s Superleague with Abrakebabra Tralee Tigers in 2008 to cap a run of four national titles in five years for the club.
Men’s National League Teams 2016-17: Belfast Star, BFG Neptune, C&S Blue Demons, C&S UCC Demons, DCU Saints, Dublin Lions, Eanna, Fr. Mathews, GCD Swords Thunder, ITC Basketball, JM&L Auctioneers Titans, Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin, Kestrels, KUBS, LYIT, Maree BC, Pyrobel Killester, Sligo All Stars, SSE Airtricity Moycullen, Team Kilkenny, Templeogue, Tralee Town BC, UCD Marian, UL Eagles.