Maree youngsters come of age

Ready for a new beginning:  Maree Basketball Club player Liam Conroy,  Maurice Hannon (BSM), Úna Finn (club chairperson), and Darren Callanan (captain) at the launch of the Maree men’s National League strip.

Ready for a new beginning: Maree Basketball Club player Liam Conroy, Maurice Hannon (BSM), Úna Finn (club chairperson), and Darren Callanan (captain) at the launch of the Maree men’s National League strip.

Oranmore Maree, well-established as Galway’s basketball nursery, is set to embark on a new development with a men’s team in the National League.

The club has entered the division one league for the first time and will open its campaign on Saturday when hosting Northern Conference side Ballon in Calasanctius College, Oranmore.

The new development is a natural progression for many of the club’s former juvenile stars who have risen through the ranks in the past decade. And many of those players already have achieved national success with Maree having won the u-18 National Cup in both 2008 and 2009, in addition to the u-20 final. Already this season they have successfully defended the u-20 Cork Open Cup and won their u- 18 National Cup preliminary tournament, while last season a women’s team competed in the National League.

The squad, coached by John Finn and Sean Conroy with manager Mary O’Hagan, combines both youth and experience. Darren Callanan captains the side and is joined by Andrew Brennan, Jack Conroy Liam Conroy, Ciarán Considine, Con Crowley, Daniel Finn, Eddie Forde, Conor Graham, Colm O’Hagan, David Hansberry, Ken Hansberry, Ciaran Harte , Linas Mitkus, George Rahmani, and Sarunas Zuirblinskas. Conor Foley, who is recovering from knee surgery, is expected to join the team later in the season.

The team will play in a new strip which bears the logo of BSM, a management and technology consulting company working in Ireland. The company won the Maree Men’s National League gear logo lottery in a successful fund-raising initiative.

Maree will also face a tough opener as Ballon were last season’s winners of the division one final, while next up are local opponents Titans who were also finalists. The club will be looking for a strong home following in the Calansanctius College gym as it enters a new era in its basketball history.

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