THE Gonkers Basketball Club held a reunion for all their past players and members at the Residence Bar on Blarney Street last Saturday night.
The club which was based on Blarney Street and Gurranabraher in Northside of the City in the eighties and nineties had some great players and characters and were very successful in their era.
The night was organised by Mick Murphy, Jonnie Crean, Briain Burke and Jamie Golden and the large gathering of friends had a great night listening to the band who were Jonnie Crean, John O’Mahony, Brian O’Callaghan and Michael O’Callaghan (the ballbreaker’s) christened by Mick Murphy on the night.
Mick was delighted to meet up so many of his great friends again, as they didn’t meet for a number of years because of the Covid restrictions.
“I’m so delighted that we got to meet up this year, as it's been a difficult few years for everyone because of Covid,” Mick said.
“We are like a big family really, as we all keep in contact all the time, but to see so many old and great friends to talk and laugh about the old days it’s just unbelievable.
“The only sad thing about tonight is we lost one of our founder members Stevie Keenan a couple of years ago and one former players Eddie Creagh just a few weeks ago, however, they will never be forgotten as they were great lads,” Mick added.
On the night some of the former players in attendance were Briain Burke, Francie Higgins, John Field, Mickey Prendergast, George O’Connor, Mick Lehane and Ger Keane.
One of these players mentioned above Francie Higgins was a warrior on the court for his team.
Only small in stature, he had the heart of a lion and was always at the forefront of every Gonkers success.
He played a total of fifteen seasons with the Northside club winning multiple of trophies, however, it was the friendships he made that was a special time for him.
“It’s great tonight to meet up with so many amazing friends and to talk about the great times we had back in the day,” Francie said.
“I played with the very first Gonkers team that was formed and played with the club for a total of fifteen years.
"The one thing about all our teams was that we left everything on the floor, but we also enjoyed the social side of the game when we would go back to the Olde Tavern for a few pints after games.
"It was in the bar that we grew close together and having the crack with some great characters Rusty O’Callaghan, Mick burn the water O’Donoghue and Huckle Buckley.
“I was lucky to play with some great players, Donal Horgan, Greg Creagh, Ger Keane, Denis Daly, Mickie Prendergast and one of my best memories is winning the All-Ireland title under coach Denis Keane,” Francie added.
Nights like this is such a great way to keep in touch with friends who you played with all these years ago and the amazing atmosphere in the Residence Bar on the night everyone could see that all involved have a great connection.