Rebel Wheelers basketball team crowned National League champions

Rebel Wheelers basketball team crowned National League champions
Rebel Wheelers basketball team have been crowned the 2019/2020 National League Champions. Pre-Covid shot of the team.

Rebel Wheelers basketball team have been crowned the 2019/2020 National League Champions in what is a second win for the team having previously taken the title last year.

Earlier this year, the team also took home the Hula Hoop National Cup title for the second year in a row.

The league consisted of nine teams and Rebel Wheelers were on top with 13 games played and three to go before Covid-19 hit.

At a recent meeting, it was decided that teams would be awarded on a points pro rata basis and Rebel Wheelers came out the winners.

The team’s coach, Con Coughlan, said that the players have been working consistently throughout the season with just one defeat which he said is “a great thing because they’ll learn from that too”.

Rebel Wheelers have 13 senior players and 20 junior players, a set up which he said a lot of clubs in the country would envy.

Mr Coughlan comes from a background in GAA but was asked by IWA’s Paul Ryan to come on board and has been coaching basketball for three years alongside rugby coach Alan Dineen who fell in as strength and conditioning coach getting the basketball team “as fit as fiddles”.

Secretary of Rebel Wheelers, Orla O’Brien, said that the win has given Rebel Wheelers “a real boost” after its members experienced a tough couple of months during Covid-19 with the loss of member Abi McGeogh.

The 12-year-old passed away in May after being in critical care at Cork University Hospital (CUH), leaving her fellow members “devastated”.

“In the middle of all of this we lost one of our members Abi McGeogh. That hit some of our kids really hard. We did the guard of honour for her funeral and the kids couldn’t touch each other, they couldn't hug each other, they could barely talk to each other.

“Abi was just a beautiful child so we were all devastated,” Ms O’Brien said.

Rebel Wheelers started holding online quizzes and talent shows for its younger group of members as a means to keep them connected during the difficult time.

Ms O’Brien said that the club is waiting for guidance from IWA Sport who are in the process of creating a return-to-sport document with Sport Ireland in relation to reopening.

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