AT the end of an article in The Address UCC Glanmire programme on Sunday read a line “Coming together is beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is progress.”
Looking back at the success of Glanmire who had just clinched their 11th Women’s Super League title of which coach Mark Scannell was at the helm for 10 of them those words speak volumes of truth.
This is an incredible record in every sense of the word but it was very visible this latest success meant a lot to a man who will probably be remembered as the most successful coach in the history of basketball in this country.
“On every occasion that we have won titles there has always been a great buzz but I think this season was a little bit special with the players we had to replace from last season," Scannell said.
“At the start of the season, nobody gave us a prayer as we were not in anybody’s conversation as potential champions but I suppose when you look at losing Claire Melia, Casey Grace, Miriam Loughery and Leslie Ann Wilkinson plus two quality Americans there was a huge void to fill.”
The closing weeks of the season have been demanding for Glanmire but coach Scannell found time to praise a number of his stalwarts.
“I thought Claire O’Sullivan has been outstanding and I have no problem putting in on record about her contribution when we needed experience.
“What can I say about Aine McKenna only that she is the best leader of a team that I have coached and I must not forget the contribution of Amy Dooley who has been outstanding and to me is a player who is equivalent to an unpolished diamond.”
Players win you championships and coach Scannell will not sway from that assertion.
“I know we have young players who all want to play but like all the other coaches in the league, my job is about getting results and that’s the only thing I am judged on.
“Our two Americans Brittany Byrd and Khia Rasheed have been outstanding and look we have a nice crop of young players coming through and they have got to stay with the programme.
Five years ago Mark Scannell brought in Ronan O’Sullivan as assistant coach and Kenneth Clarke for strength and conditioning and he found time to thank their magnificent contribution.
“Not many backroom teams last as long we have had done but the lads are great who know their roles and we work well together for the betterment of the squad.”
Team manager Maebh Ní Chionnaigh resides in Dingle and travels up every weekend and that’s another huge commitment. On match day the Glanmire clubs members Timmy and Caroline Murphy, Con Allen and the evergreen Jimmy Roche are always on hand to provide assistance.
“The bottom line is that right now Glanmire as a basketball club are in a very strong position and although we are not producing quality teams in the U18 and U20 grades I think time will see us resurrect there.
“We now have former players bringing their kids to the academy and yes we couldn’t be happier with the group of people involved in our club.
“There are two league games left but we have the title in the bag and then we will try and retain the Champions Trophy that would crown an incredible season.”