With the start of Basketball Ireland Men's Super League just days away, the game’s governing body has confirmed that the final instalment of a €1.3million legacy debt has been paid.
Basketball Ireland found itself in such a precarious position as its level of debt spiralled out of control during the last recession that it was forced to suspend international competition for both the men’s and women’s teams in 2010.
Bernard O’Byrne was appointed as chief executive of the beleaguered body in 2011 and, under his stewardship, the sport has slowly been financially resuscitated.
Reflecting on the latest positive for the sport, O’Byrne said: "This is a truly memorable day in the history of Basketball Ireland and a real achievement by past and present players, clubs, area boards, schools, board members and professional staff.
"Not every organisation could have achieved this - it’s onwards and upwards now."
On the court, one of the clashes of the weekend will be the meeting of reigning league champions Garvey’s Tralee Warriors and 2018 kingpins UCD Marian.
These two sides met in a thrilling end of season showdown back in March, which saw Tralee take two massive wins against the Dubliners to be crowned league champions for the first time.
Both sides boast new-look squads, with Tralee boosted by the additions of Daniel Jokubaitis and Ivan Bogdanovic from Killorglin.
UCD Marian head into the new season without the services of Spaniard JJ Vall Ilobera and star player Conor Meany, who has retired from Super League basketball.
They have added talent in the form of Shane Davidson, American Brian Andrews and Igor Markiewicz, the latter moving over from Dublin Lions.
Looking ahead to the Kingdom clash, Tralee boss Pat Price stated: "We’re looking forward to Saturday’s game. We’re still finding our way and trying to get in sync with each other. There are lots of new faces and it will take us some time to realise our identity. We know Saturday will be a big task, particularly for an opening game, so we’re hoping to get off to a strong start and take advantage of the home support."
One of the other big games of the weekend sees Griffith College Templeogue on the road to Belfast Star, in what is set to be another hotly-contested battle.
"I think we have a chance to be good this year but we will have to blend youth and experience," opined Star coach Adrian Fulton.
"We have lots of new faces and a few injuries, but we’re looking forward to it."
Other big games around the weekend include the much-anticipated Dublin derby between DCU Saints and Pyrobel Killester on Saturday evening, with the latter boasting the return of Isaac Westbrooks.
Coughlan C&S Neptune host Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin in Cork on Saturday evening in a game that will undoubtedly be one to watch, with Kyle Hosford added into the Neptune set-up, while Colin O’Reilly has moved to Killorglin as player-coach.
Two derbies wrap up the remaining games, with Moycullen hosting Maree in a big Galway showdown at NUIG, while the final match-up is another Dublin derby as the newly-promoted Abbey Seals Dublin Lions and DBS Éanna go head-to-head in Clondalkin.