The Kilcar Basketball Club celebrate their 25th year in existence this year. They host a major fundraiser this Sunday Night in the Blue Haven Hotel, when they stage a Stars In Their Eyes spectacular. The club also intend donating funds to the Carrick Day Care Centre. Tickets are selling fast and a huge crowd is expected.
The club has come a long way from its earliest days, when a small group of friends decided they would like to set up a team and enter the newly formed South Donegal League. Today, there are over 200 members, boy’s and girls from U-12 right up to adult level.
There have been many successes over the period and the club has the singular honour of being the only club ever present in the league. No mean achievement for a small rural area with only one primary and one secondary school.
Sport has been, and still is a big deal in Kilcar and there has always been a big crossover between the basketball and GAA clubs, with many players playing both codes.
There has always been a good relationship between both sports.
Kilcar played their first competitive game on the 4th of December 1987, in Donegal Town against the home team, losing 68 to 39. The team on that occasion was: Michael Molloy, Leo Molloy (RIP), Gerry Brady, Alan Erskine, Damien Erskine, Patrick McShane and Malachy Haughey.
There was no indoor facility in Kilcar, so the team trained and played in the Vocational School gym in Killybegs. Finances were tight and all expenses in the early days were shared by the players.
Later, fundraising events were organised to cover the costs of transport etc. The club’s Quiz nights in the Piper’s, John Joe’s and Kilcar House became a staple during the winter months and raised much needed revenue. Later, local band Storm Force played some gigs to raise funds for the new club.
John and Leo Molloy (RIP) sponsored the club’s new playing gear, which carried the famous, or infamous Kilcar Butchers logo.
In 1989 the team contested the Divisional final, losing to Donegal Town but went on to their first success in the All County League Final later that year.
The new School gym in Carrick, which had recently opened, allowed the team to move closer to home at the beginning of the 90’s and in the ‘91/’92 season a ladies team was formed. The mens team won the County Blitz in 1991 and again in 1992
and became the first Donegal team to win the prestigious Donegal Town Blitz at the beginning of the 1993 season. That final will be long remembered for one of the great comebacks in Northwest basketball. Kilcar trailed by 19 at half time and by 23 early in the second. Bit by bit they clawed their way back and eventually claimed victory. They showed a fighting spirit and never say die attitude that has permeated all club teams through the years.
The completion of the Aislann gym in Kilcar in 1995 allowed the club to move home for the first time.
The club has seen many young players emerge through the ranks and go on to become the mainstays in the club. Players like Mark McShane, Finlay McIver, James Dean, Noel McDevitt and David Cannon came through from school’s teams at a young age and developed into starting five players in the years that followed.
The ladies team were next to secure some silverware when in 2003 they put together a great run in the Cup and brought the title back to Kilcar. The following year 2004 was the turn of the men once again when the won the County League title. In the period 2000 to 2005 the mens team won the County Blitz each year.
The following period saw the emergence of quality players like Michael Molloy Jnr, Glen McBrearty, Patrick Gallagher and more recently Noel Kennedy.
The past 5 years has seen the club win the North West Cup on four occasions and last year 2012 seen the League/Cup double achieved. A great year!
Michael Molloy Jnr has won a Donegal Basketball All Star Award, well deserved for his continued inspired performances and individual scoring feats.
The constant in the club from day one has been Michael Molloy Snr. Michael is Mr. Basketball in Kilcar. He has filled all roles in the club both as coach, administrator and referee. He has also found time to fill the role of League Administrator and Chairperson in the last few years. He can still shoot a few hoops as well and lined out in two early season games this year.
Michael, his wife Sarah and all the other coaches and volunteers involved with underage and adult basketball in Kilcar are to be commended on their continued commitment and dedication to the sport they love. They are a credit to their town and parish.
The club has come a long way since 1988 when the Molloy brothers, the Erskine brothers and Gerry Brady came together to set up the first Kilcar team.
A benchmark has been set for others to follow, and the future is bright for Kilcar Basketball Club.