Mounthawk Student Dáire Makes Irish Under 16 Basketball Squad

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Dáire Kennelly (second right) with Coach Jimmy Diggins of Tralee Imperials, teacher and assistant coach Lyndsey Moriarty and teacher and coach John Dowling. Photo by Dermot Crean

IT was a proud day for the Kennelly family and Mercy Mounthawk school when news emerged yesterday that a student had made an Irish basketball team.

Third year student Dáire Kennelly, from Camp, made the final 12 of the Irish Under 16 team to travel to Sofia in Bulgaria this summer for the European Championships.

The 15 year old — son of Brendan and Veronica (nee Costello) — took up the sport just a few years ago with the Tralee Imperials club.

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“It’s unreal, I can’t describe it,” said Dáire. “I started playing when I was 13, just before coming to school here. I had played rugby, soccer and football before joining Imperials,” said Dáire.

He had been part of a group of 60 pupils who had been having trials for the Irish team since October 2015, but that has now been whittled down to the final 12.

It’s another boost for the sport in the school says his basketball coach.

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“He’s the first male student from the school to make an Irish team — We’ve had a few girls in the past to make it,” said teacher and coach John Dowling. “It’s a proud day for the school, coming just a week after our first years winning an All-Ireland title,” he said.

“He’s a great young man, he’s worked hard. He only came into us at Imperials a two years ago at Under 14s. He had never played before and now he’s on the Irish team. I’m sure Tralee Warriors will be looking at him soon too,” said Mr Dowling.

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