Oblate women set sights on return to National League

By Stephen Leonard

HEAD coach Terry Staunton and his Oblate BC Division One team are targeting a return to Women’s National League basketball in 2021.

Both this outfit and the club as a whole is enjoying a revival that saw a number of their ladies and men’s sides on the brink of Dublin League and Cup glory before the season was cut short as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Oblate BC Division One Women 160420

Oblate BC’s firsts enjoyed an impressive year and will be targeting a return to National League basketball next season

Indeed the Oblate firsts were sitting second in Division One behind a Liffey Celtics team to whom they had just lost in the Dublin Cup decider when proceedings were called to a halt by Basketball Ireland.

It was an impressive campaign by the Drimnagh side especially given that they were missing several key players to long-term injuries in the likes of Samantha Massey, Heather Meagher and captain Jennifer Sheehan.

Staunton, who previously managed Oblate to National Cup success and a top-four finish in the National League, is confident the good days will return.

Indeed the oldest of his current crop of Division One players is 24 and he is confident they can secure the Dublin League crown with another crack at it next season.

“The plan is to get back up to the National League, but we want to be the best team in Dublin first” he told The Echo.

“We were one our two games away from that this season, but hopefully next season we can go on and win it.

“We played a friendly against National League side Swords Thunder at home just before Christ-mas, just to give me an idea where the players were at, and we only lost by one or two points” he added.

The huge progress made by the Oblate firsts is a reflection of the great strides the club has been making across the board.

While the seconds were figuring among the top four of Women’s Division Two at the time the season was cut, the thirds had topped Division Five after having just lifted the Dublin Junior Cup.

And while there remains somewhat of a gap between the Under 14 ranks and this level of women’s basketball in the club, Staunton is very confident that that will be closed in the next couple of years especially given the success of Oblate’s academy which caters for more than 100 members.

On the men’s front, Oblate is also enjoying its share of success with both their Under 13s and Senior Men reaching their respective Dublin Cup deciders which, unfortun-ately, were not played before the season was shut down.

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