Ireland’s oldest running outdoor basketball tournament
St Stephen’s Day has been a day for basketball on the outdoor courts of Moycullen for over 50 years.
The first Blitz was held in 1968 after the outdoor court was laid down by the club and while there was a break in play during 1976 and 1977 as the outdoor court was uprooted to facilitate the demolition of the old Parish Hall and construction of the present Scoil Mhuire building, the Blitz resumed in 1978. It has been a constant ever since with exception of the 2020 Covid disrupted Blitz.
In 1985, the Lee family kindly donated what is now named the “Jim Lee Perpetual Trophy”. To have your name etched on that trophy’s base is a goal for all male playing members and enter the annals of Moycullen Basketball History. Four wins and you are in the Hall of Fame. Until the day you get your first win however, your name rests in the dreaded Hall of Shame!
In 2001, the Dandy Kelly “Spirit of the Blitz” award was introduced to commemorate the great Padraig Dandy Kelly who passed away tragically that year. Dandy epitomized all that the blitz is; uncompromising, brave and competitive on the court but great fun and always up for the craic off the court. Every year it is presented to the player who best captures that spirit.
Below are some photos from recent blitzes to give a small flavour of the action. If you are around the Parish on a St Stephen’s Day, make sure to swing by and have a look for yourself at one of the great sporting traditions.
Unfortunately for the first time the mid-1970s, no basketball blitz took place on St Stephen’s Day in Moycullen on account of Covid. We all hope it was a once off and we look forward to 2021.
A wet and blustery St Stephen’s day ended with Dylan Cunningham lifting the Jim Lee Perpetual Trophy to earn his fourth win and a seat in the Blitz Hall of Fame. Mark Loughnane meanwhile picked up the Dandy Kelly Spirit of Blitz Award.
The 2018 Blitz saw Joseph Tummon’s team emerge victorious, allowing the big man to finally escape from the Hall of Shame of non-winners. Josh Marvesley won his third in a row while Dave Carr got his second title along with the coveted Padraig Kelly “Spirit of the Blitz” Award.
Below is a video of the final
James Loughnane etched his name into the Hall of Fame with his fourth win while Paul O’Brien finally emerged from the Hall of Shame with a long awaited victory. Alan Conroy scooped the Dandy Kelly “Spirit of the Blitz” Award.
The day out saw our unforgettable U20 Men’s Team from the 2007/2008 season celebrate 10 years since their historic U20 National Cup.
A towering combo of Garnett Griffin and Cian Nihill were enough to see their team lift the cup this year against a luckless Paddy Lyons who suffered another heart-breaking final loss.
It was a all about the Woodlands combination in 2015 as captain James Loughnane led his team to the title ably assisted by his Woodlands neighbour and Dandy Kelly Spirit of the Blitz winner Pat Griffin.
Stephen O’Brien got his hands on the Jim Lee Perpetual Trophy and secured his passage out of the Hall of Shame by teaming up with Dylan Cunningham for the the 2014 Blitz title.
On a day of torrential rain, it was Caomh Davoren who played the role of hero when he hit the game winner in the final for Cian Nihill’s team who were left standing with the Jim Lee Perpetual Trophy when play concluded. The 2013 Blitz was one to remember for Sean Hynes who entered the Hall of Fame courtesy of his fourth career win while also walking away with the Dandy Kelly Spirit of the Blitz Award.
Pick up a copy of History of Moycullen Basketball Club 1966 – 2016: Caoga Bliain ag Fás for further pics, reports and information about the Blitz and it’s rich history.