Both competing teams had 1,000 reasons to celebrate despite a unique charity wheelchair basketball match ending in stalemate in St. Joseph’s Boys School last week.
The match saw a student select team take on the St Joseph’s teachers with former pupil, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, John Boyle, on hand to get proceedings underway.
The two sides could not be separated on the field of play but it was #cashforkids who emerged the true winner when it was revealed the event had raised a fantastic £1,000 for the charity.
The event, organised by pupils Dylan Wade, Jim O’Brien and Conor McRae, had the support of teaching staff Maria Hribar, Annette McCallion and Paula Dillon. The students team was made up of Dylan, Conor and Jim alongside their North West Wolves teammates, Kyle Wade, Oran O’Doherty, Raul Santos Burke, Ross Atkinson, Jason Campbell, Cianan Campbell and Samantha McColgan
The staff also boasted a very experienced team with a few well known local basketball stars in their ranks including Pat ‘The Postman’ Hickey, Pat ‘The Enforcer’ Hribar, Kevin ‘One shot’ Thompson, Dan ‘The Eagle’ Maude, Dominic ‘The Black Beard’ Hazlett, Dermot ‘TV’ Murphy and Darren ‘Win at all costs’ Currie.
It was the staff who took the lead after 10 minutes when ‘The Postman’ Mr Hickey scored from a tight angle but the teachers tired after hitting the front as the pupils got to grips with the game.
Some great passing and movement from the young students saw them come back into the match with excellent support from the sidelines.
The pupils team eventually worked their way into a 10-2 lead with Dylan and Jason Campbell both scoring four points and Samantha McColgan scoring two.
At this stage there looked only one winner but player-coach Hribar called a time-out to deliver one of his ‘Any Given Sunday ‘speeches. Mr Thompson and Mr Maude returned to the court inspired by their coach’s words and they managed to claw their way back into the game.
With five minutes remaining the teachers drew the match level, Darren Currie scoring from distance.
At this stage it was anybody’s game and Jim O’Brien went close twice to winning it for the students but lucky for the staff, his radar was slightly off target.
Currie also thought he had won it for the staff but brilliant defensive work by McRae meant he over ran the shot clock and his score didn’t count as the game finished in a sporting draw.
The organisers pay offered their immense thanks to referee, Paul Gallagher, and the North West Wolves for providing the wheelchairs on the day.
St. Joseph’s Principal, Mrs Martina McCarron, said she was extremely proud of the pupils for organising the game and raising the £800 for charity, adding she was very impressed by the skill levels of the pupil’s team and also thanking the staff for taking part.
Mayor, and former pupil, John Boyle, said he was delighted and very proud to see wheelchair basketball taking place in his ‘old stomping ground.’
“The skill levels of these youngsters was something to see,” said Mayor Boyle, “I’m a very proud St. Joseph’s old boy and very happy to come along and lend my support. Well done to everyone involved.”