Kelly and Dunne reflect on Basketball Ireland Tenure

Kelly and Dunne reflect on Basketball Ireland Tenure

  • Jun 09,2016
This Article first appeared in the Irish Daily Star in April 2016...

The tenure of Basketball Ireland President Gerry Kelly and Board Chairperson Jackie Dunne comes to an end this summer. It’s been four years of growth and change and it is a fact to say they leave office with basketball on a stronger footing that when they entered. 

After almost half a decade of rigorous planning and execution comes a time of reflection. 

“Looking at the increase in registration shows where some of our success has been,” says President Gerry Kelly. “We’re capturing people in all 32 counties and the turnover in Council shows further development because not one council member has the same role they had four years ago. We should continue with succession planning and the spirit that people should move on regardless of how successful they’ve been in that position. 

Quite honestly, it’s a very exciting time for the sport. What once was a black period turned grey and now we’re facing into a bright future.” 

Kelly is the 23rd president of Basketball Ireland but since the election of Colonel Joe Byrne in 1945, some of the most unique challenges have come since the turn of the decade. As outgoing Council Chairperson Jackie Dunne puts it:

“A key objective of mine and my fellow directors was to reduce the financial debt in a timeframe that would allow reinvestment back to our sport sooner. This is ongoing but significant achievements have been made.”
For Dunne, the return to prominence of the green jersey in Irish basketball has also been a sign of growth. “We are now back to our full complement with currently 12 international squads training,” she says. “The widening of the base for the International development squads means that we are exposing more players to this level and we will see the benefits of this as time passes. 

Currently we have in excess of 250 players playing and training at this elite level. This summer we will have eight teams competing in Europe.” 

The resurgence of active citizenship in basketball is one that’s particularly pleasing to Gerry Kelly: “My personal highlight has to be the reaction of volunteerism throughout the country. When I took over, there was negativity and a disbelief. I believe that through my presence on the ground throughout on the country on a continuous basis, I led people to believe that it was going to change.”

Both Kelly and Dunne are keen to allow their replacements forge their own path, but the 2015-2025 Strategic Plan remains a solid roadmap for Irish basketball.

“The Strategic Plan was driven by the sport as a community getting involved and embracing what the sport needed,” said Dunne. “The plan and pillars are defined and approved, now the most important part of any strategy begins – the implementation. I have every faith it will be delivered upon.”

Naturally both Kelly and Dunne had an endless list of people they wanted to thank who shared the journey with them. That collaborative spirit served them well. It’s also what will keep Irish basketball on an upward curve. 

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