The Dublin Master’s Basketball 2018 Tournament attracted its biggest field ever with 40 men’s and women’s teams from all over the world taking part in four venues in West Dublin.
Teams from the USA, Canada, Slovenia, Spain, Belgium, Croatia, England and Scotland as well as a host of teams from the four corners of Ireland strutted their stuff.
Sunday’s finals day created a cracking atmosphere for the packed arena at the re-furbished Oblate Hall in Inchicore.
The big titles went to the American debutants Portland Old School who beat BNAF in the Tom McLaughlin Over-40s men’s final while Wild Rovers made it five wins in a row with victory over Mustangs in the Joe Kavanagh women’s cup final.
The men’s Over-40s decider was a real dog fight with nothing between the sides throughout as Portland Old School just pipped Brother’s Near and Far 31-30 in a titanic battle on the buzzer.
Portland is a side put together by the former Killester player Kevin McLoughlin who left Ireland in the mid 90’s and joined the US Marines.
The Dubliner was overcome after the final when he spoke to the Dublin Gazette.
“This is an amazing tournament and a credit to the organisers and the venues,” he said.
“When I made contact initially with John Walsh almost a year ago, I never thought firstly that we would be here as a team let alone be winners of the men’s tournament.
“Dave O’Brien and I set things in motion with these wonderful guys and within a few months we were well on our way to having the trip set up.
“Dave is one of the integral parts of our group but just a couple of months ago he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and unable to make the trip to the homeland.
“This was shattering news for Dave, his family and for us as a group and that is why we wore the ‘David O’Brien’ green warm-up tops to honour our friend.
“When we were told that each team in the final would have an MVP, the guys automatically picked Dave to honour him with us” said McLoughlin as he tried to hold back the tears.
Jerome Westbrooks BNAF or Brother’s Near and Far who included Ed Randolph, Ger Kennedy, Damion Morbley and a host of other players certainly put it up to their American opponents.
The women’s title went to Wild Rovers who beat Siobhan Kilkenny’s Mustangs 62-43 in the decider. This was Wild Rovers fifth year in a row to win the big one.
The team is a who’s who of former SuperLeague players including Caitriona White, Suzanne Maguire, Gillian Hayes, Karen Hennessy and of course the amazing Lindsay Peat who has just finished a gruelling international rugby season with Ireland.
Peat loves her basketball and represented Ireland on many occasions; she is also a soccer and rugby international while if that isn’t enough she also won an All-Ireland football title with the Dublin ladies.
After the final, Peat told the Dublin Gazette what this weekend meant to her. “It was fantastic to put on the basketball boots for the weekend and to play with these amazing girls. This is a fabulous tournament and I am so thrilled that I was able to help the girls,” said the MVP.
The Over 50’s Men’s final saw a new name going on the Mick Brew Cup as newcomers DM Ballers just edged out Inchicore 40-31 in a close fought final.
Former NBA player Anthony Bonner was the star attraction with many of the fans as he lined out for Checkmate Knights.
Unfortunately the finals day crowd at the Oblate Hall didn’t get a chance to see Bonner in the flesh as his side didn’t make the finals but he did lead the Knights to a Plate victory and also picked up the MVP award in the final against St Declan’s.
Mayo ladies won the women’s plate beating Maol Oldies in the final.
After the last basket was scored and the final trophies were given out Dublin Masters John Walsh was quick to point out to the Dublin Gazette that the 2019 event is already in the planning stages.