Setanta to show We Got Game basketball documentary along with live SuperLeague Finals on Friday
Both finals live from 18:45 on Setanta Ireland followed by We Got Game: The Golden Age of Irish Basketball, a new documentary about Irish basketball in the 1980s.
Setanta Ireland will broadcast both of the SuperLeague National Cup Finals live on January 25th 2013, from the National Basketball Arena, Tallaght. The Womens final tips-off at 18:45 when UL Huskies take on TM Hotel Cork and then the Mens final at 20:45 when UL Eagles take on Bord Gais Neptune. Marie Crowe presents and she will be joined courtside by UCD Marians Conor Meany, Will Downing will be commentator for both games and on Co-Commentary are Breda Dick, coach of the Ulster Rockets for the womens final and Adrian Fulton, Former Irish International and current Belfast Star Coach for the mens final.
Following the two finals, at 22:30 Setanta will show We Got Game: The Golden Age of Irish Basketball, a documentary made by Motive Television that recalls a period when the popularity of Irish Basketball was at its greatest. Filled with unique, larger than life characters, it tells the story of when black America and small-town Ireland collided. The hour long documentary revisits a time when teams such as The Neptunes and The Blue Demons were all over the sport pages, and basketball went from being a small sport to one of the biggest spectacles in Ireland in the 80s.
We Got Game, looks at the origins of the game in Ireland before the introduction of American college players in 1979 when the maverick, Paudie OConnor of Killarney brought in the first two American professional players to play in the Irish league. The majority of these players who came to Ireland were young, black Americans, straight out of big-time college basketball, who had marginally missed out on the NBA. We see how the Cork clubs were supported by their own small scale Roman Abramovich-type backers and eventually caught up, and overtook Killarney as the top teams. They did this by bringing some of the all-time greats of this era such as, Terry Strickland, Jasper McElroy and Ray Smith. There is the incredible story of the relationship between Mario Elie and Kelvin Troy who played a season together with Killester. Mario went on to win three NBA Championships back home in the US with the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs, while Kelvin, his equal, still lives in Ireland, inspiring hoop dreams in new younger generations.
We are introduced to Dave Hopla, shooting coach to NBA stars like Kobe Bryant. He recalls his three years playing basketball in Belfast at the height of the troubles. We also meet, Liam McHale and Deora Marsh who transformed Ballina into one of the main forces of Irish basketball. This is not just a documentary about basketball Ireland, but a fascinating insight into a 1980s Ireland crippled by Recession, which found hope and enthusiasm in the exploits of a few basketball stars from the States. These players became local heroes and some of them made Ireland their home before the popularity of the game faded back.
32-year old Irish ex-international guard Donnie McGrath (193-90kg-84, college: Providence). He is a dual citizen owning also American passport. McGrath played last season at Obradoiro in Spanish Liga Endesa. In 33 games he had 7.7ppg, 1.7rpg and 4.7apg. The previous (14-15) season he played at Krasny Oktyabr in Russian league where in 6 Eurocup games he recorded 11.2ppg, 2.7rpg and 5.3apg. McGrath also played 17 games in VTB United League where he avera... [read more]
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (LKL) signed 32-year old Irish ex-international guard Donnie McGrath (193-90kg-84, college: Providence). He is a dual citizen owning also American passport. McGrath played last season at Obradoiro in Spanish Liga Endesa. In 33 games he had 7.7ppg, 1.7rpg and 4.7apg. The previous (14-15) season he played at Krasny Oktyabr in Russian league where in 6 Eurocup games he recorded 11.2ppg, 2.7rpg and 5.3apg. McGrath also played 17 games in VTB United League where he averaged 9.2ppg, 2.6rpg and 4.6apg. The other team he played shortly was Anadolu Efes in Turkish league. In 5 Euroleague games he got 4.0ppg, 1.4rpg and 1.0apg. McGrath also spent pre-season at La ICL Manresa (also in Liga Endesa) that year. He was a member of Irish Senior National Team between 2006 and 2008. McGrath is quite experienced player. He has played also professionally in France (Cholet Basket), Greece (PAOK Thessaloniki, AEK Athens and Egaleo), Italy (Openjobmetis VA, Verona and BancaTercas), Lithuania (Zalgiris) and Russia (Spartak St.Petersburg). McGrath attended Providence College until 2006 and it will be his eleventh (!!!) season as a professional player.
Ian O'Leary agreed terms with Fuenlabrada - 11 days ago
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30-year old American (has also Irish passport) forward Ian O'Leary (201-101kg-86, college: St.Mary's, CA) from Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias. In 34 Liga Endesa games in Spain he recorded 4.5ppg and 2.7rpg last season. The previous (14-15) season O'Leary played at Gran Canaria where in 26 Liga Endesa games he averaged 4.9ppg and 3.1rpg. He also played 20 games in Eurocup where he had 6.8ppg, 3.0rpg and 1.2apg. A... [read more]
Montakit Fuenlabrada (Liga Endesa) strengthened their roster with addition of 30-year old American (has also Irish passport) forward Ian O'Leary (201-101kg-86, college: St.Mary's, CA) from Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias. In 34 Liga Endesa games in Spain he recorded 4.5ppg and 2.7rpg last season. The previous (14-15) season O'Leary played at Gran Canaria where in 26 Liga Endesa games he averaged 4.9ppg and 3.1rpg. He also played 20 games in Eurocup where he had 6.8ppg, 3.0rpg and 1.2apg. Among other achievements O'Leary played in the final of WCC Tournament in 2009. He received also Eurobasket.com All-Spanish LEB Silver Forward of the Year award back in 2011. O'Leary has played previously for four other teams: Blancos de Rueda, Palencia Baloncesto, Vigo and Oviedo CB. He attended Saint Mary's College of California until 2009 and it will be his eighth season in pro basketball. The scouts decsribe him following way:
Overlooked somewhat at college but has blossomed in Europe. Strong going to the basket and has good athletic ability. Working on being more consistent outside the 3pt line but provides a real mis match for teams.
A very good athlete he is able to play several positions effectively because of a great mix of size and quickness. Rebounds like a center but runs like a guard. Very effective mid range jumper causes a lot of problems cause he is able to just shoot over top of most defenders. Can handle the ball and has no problem handling pressure and being a release valve for any backcourt. Aggressive offensive mind set makes him lead by example. At college played in a system to showcase NBA Draft choice Patrick Mills, but his performance in Europe will be very different as he will be allowed to show his complete game. Has very long arms and consistently tips and blocks shots from the backside and weak side. A very complete player is capable of playing at very high levels as he continues to develop. Shoots the deep ball quite well and is extending his range which for a player his size will make him deadly.
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