DBS Éanna coach Darren McGovern admits he’s had to pinch himself a few times as the newly-promoted Super League team continue to confound their doubters.
The Ballyroan side were the pacesetters in the early weeks of the season and, though they’ve dropped to fifth since, they’re still well in contention for a play-off spot.
Friday night sees Éanna take on Griffith College Templeogue in a local derby at the National Basketball Arena for the Pat Duffy National Cup (Saturday, 8pm, NBA).
And McGovern says it’s been a rollercoaster of a year that the Monaghan man is still trying to get his head around.
“Emotionally, we’re on cloud nine,” he told Dublin Gazette.
“From where we were a couple of years ago, only winning a couple of games in the Super League, and we were wondering where things would go from there, to be here 18 months later is a good feeling for the club.
“A lot of people have worked hard behind the scenes. Myself and the players get a lot of credit for that, but a lot of good work has been done with the underage system to act as a feeder.
“We want to ensure we’re not just a flash in the pan and it can continue for many years.”
McGovern moved to Dublin nine years ago and played with Swords Thunder before setting up permanent residency with DBS Éanna.
He took over the management reins last year and wasn’t prepared for quite how well it would go, but he stresses that their achievements have all been richly deserved.
“I moved to Dublin about nine years ago. I played with Swordsat the time, because I know Jay Baker and Conor Gallagher.
“My girlfriend at the time, who is now my wife, is from Templeogue and was living in Tallaght. The journeys over and back weren’t the best, so I joined Éanna a couple of years later, played some National League and started coaching.
“I wasn’t interested in coaching last season, but it kind of fell on my lap and I had a few words with the wife, like it’s going to be a huge commitment if I do this.
“I’m not one to do things to just get over the line, I want a plan going forward. We’re definitely ahead of ourselves.
“I thought maybe two seasons in the National League, get used to winning and then go up to the Super League and have a plan to be able to win games. We have a squad capable of winning games.”
He concludes: “We’ve beaten Tralee, we’ve beaten Killester, so we’ve beaten big teams with huge histories. It’s good to see our club beside them and how high we are in the league.
“We played Belfast Star away in our first cup game and they’re flying as well, a good team with a brilliant manager.
“Our next game was the semi-final against Tralee Warriors with endless amount of resources and a full house. We’re pinching ourselves we’re doing so well but if you look at our squad, and the way we play, we’re there on merit.”