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Top Irish talent honoured

Irish Basketball gathered to honour talent from the 2002/03 season. Ireland's basketball talent, ranging from
young school players to International achievers and coaches to ESB Superleague players.

With both the men's National Cup and Superleague going Leeside this year, it was inevitable that Cork would feature strongly in the list of honours. Reclaiming the National Cup title in sensational style this season, along with their highly successful relationship with UCC and the great work
involved in their youth structures earned Mardyke UCC Demons the Club of the Year award.  

Against very difficult odds off the court, Martin Aherne coached Neptune to Superleague glory in 2003 and was named Men's Superleague Coach of the Year. In what was indisputably one of the more competitive seasons, Coach Aherne not only kept together a team depleted through injury and misfortune, but
brought them from strength to strength as the season concluded, winning their last nine games of the season.

Neptune's Kenny Gamble was named Player of the Year, in the non-Irish based category.  Gamble delighted crowds all season with his spectacular dunking, averaging over 25-points and ten rebounds per game.

Sx3 Star's Adrian Fulton was named Irish based Player of the Year, and along with Damian Sealy, Dan Callahan and Gareth Maguire was further honoured for their long serving dedication to the Irish basketball team.  Sealy, Fulton, Callahan and Maguire recently retired from international basketball.

Glenn Sekunda was named International Player of the Year, following inspirational performances during Ireland's European Championships semi-final round.  Sekunda top-scored for Ireland on 141 points, and finished as eighth highest scorer of the thirty countries involved.  Sekunda was unable to attend the awards due to club commitments with Seville, with
former Head Coach Gerry Fitzpatrick accepting the award on his behalf.

In the women's Superleague, University of Limerick swept the board, claiming Club of the Year, Coach of the Year and Player of the Year, rounding off a very sweet season.  Michelle Aspell and her 26-point game average, was the
obvious choice for women's Player of the Year, while Tony Hehir was named Coach of the Year in the women's Superleague.

In the junior categories, the awesome Grainne Dwyer from Presentation Thurles was named Senior Schoolgirl of the Year, with Eileen O'Connor, Presentation Castleisland accepting the Junior Schoolgirl of the Year award. Denis Crowley, Colaiste an Spiorad Naomh (Bishopstown, Cork), was named
Junior Schoolboy of the Year, while St Gerald's Castlebar's Herman Heyl took the Senior Schoolboy title.

The Junior Player of the Year awards went to Notre Dame's Ian O'Boyle and Drimnagh Dynamos Emer Foley, while international awards went to Marie Breen for her contribution to the Irish Junior Women's success at last years Four
Countries.  Isaac Westbrooks, who is currently in high school in the United States, was awarded the junior international player of the year for his integral role at the European Championships.

Congratulating the winners, Tony Colgan, President of the Irish Basketball Association, said,  "Every young player who takes up our sport has the right to his or her dreams.  They have a right to dream of playing in the NBA or WNBA, just like Susan
Moran.  Or playing in front of a home crowd against teams such as Germany or Croatia, knowing that winning is a possibility.  Our international players prove that dreams can become reality.  They attract young people to the sport, and define for them the standards that are expected both on and off the court".

He continued, "There is a need to provide the opportunity to as many young people as possible to play our sport.  It is not just a question of developing good basketball players or encouraging a healthy lifestyle; through involvement in a sport such as ours, all of us learn the skills which we use in other aspects of our life.  This societal responsibility to develop good people is every bit as important as developing good basketball
players and it is something we should not forget".

Irish Basketball Award Winners 2003
Junior Referee of the Year    Paddy Shortall

Wheelchair Basketball Player of the Year  Christine Doyle
Junior Schoolgirl of the Year   Eileen O'Connor,
Presentation Castleisland
Senior Schoolgirl of the Year   Grainne Dwyer, Presentation
School of the Year (Girls)    Presentation Thurles
Junior Schoolboy of the Year   Denis Crowley, Colaiste an
Spiorad Naomh
Senior Schoolboy of the Year   Herman Heyl, St Gerald's
School of the Year (Boys)    St Gerald's College,
ESB Women's Division One Player of the Year Marla Candon, Firhouse Notre
ESB Men's Division One Player of the Year  Keith Urgo, Tyrone
ESB Women's Division One Club of the Year  Mercy Coolock
ESB Men's Division One Club of the Year   Team Westaro
ESB Junior Women's Player of the Year  Emer Foley, Drimnagh Dynamos
ESB Junior Men's Player of the Year  Ian O'Boyle, Notre Dame
ESB Women's Player of the Year   Michelle Aspell, University
of Limerick 
ESB Men's Player of the Year, Irish based  Adrian Fulton, Sx3
ESB Men's Player of the Year, non-Irish based Kenny Gamble, Neptune
ESB Men's Superleague Coach of the Year  Martin Aherne, Neptune
ESB Women's Superleague Coach of the Year Tony Hehir, University of
ESB Women's Club of the Year   University of Limerick
ESB Men's Club of the Year   Mardyke UCC Demons
ESB Junior Women's International Player of the Year Marie Breen
ESB Women's International Player of the Year Siobhan Kilkenny 
ESB Junior Men's International Player of the Year Isaac Westbrooks
ESB Men's International Player of the Year  Glenn Sekunda
Tom Collins Award    Gerry Smyth
President's Award    Breda O'Neill

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