Bronze Club Mark awarded - Limerick Celtics
February 05, 2021
What made you want to try and achieve the Basketball Ireland club mark?
Over the last few years, Limerick Celtics have invested considerable time and effort into developing and updating guidelines and policies for the club. The launch of the Basketball Ireland Club Mark initiative was the perfect opportunity to take this to the next level, and to ensure that our policies match the high standard set out by Basketball Ireland.
As a club, we recognise the importance of having strong governance structures in place – and importantly a framework that reflects the values and ethos of our club. We saw the Club Mark process as a way of signaling our commitment to a positive, supportive, safe and professional environment for all of our coaches, managers, players and volunteers.
How did you find the Basketball Ireland Club Mark process?
We found the Club Mark process very straight forward and also extremely useful. The sample documents and guidance provided by Basketball Ireland are excellent and the goals are very clear. The support from Paul Carr, Basketball Ireland’s Leinster Development Officer was fantastic and we would like to take this opportunity to thank him for the amazing support throughout the process.
The Club Mark process was great in that it made us take a step back from the day-to-day running of the club, to focus on the policies and structures that support us all. We were able to identify what is in place, what is working well, and what needs to be changed/adapted. As a result, we are now confident that we are in a stronger position going into 2021.
Can you tell us a bit about your club?
Limerick Celtics Basketball Club was founded just over 11 years ago. Michelle and I started Celtics with a fun skills session for local kids for one hour every Sunday morning. Within a year we had over 40 kids attending, and since then membership has continued to grow. We now have over 400 members in the club – equally split between boys and girls. Our location means that the Club is very accessible to kids from across the city, county and even beyond. We are very much a family-based club, with members and parents contributing to the running of the club in so many ways.
The Sunday morning session is now our very successful U8s and U10s academy. We also have junior teams all the way up to U18. We compete in the North Munster League, the Cork League and various tournaments and national competitions during the season. As a club, our primary objective is to develop the basketball skills of all our players, to support them to reach their potential, to compete at the highest level possible, and most importantly, to have fun!
Limerick Celtics entered the Men’s and Women’s National Leagues for the first time in 2019 and we now have Men’s and Women’s teams playing in North Munster Local Leagues, National Division 1 League and in 2020 we also entered the U20 Men’s National League. The National League has given our more senior members the opportunity to play and develop alongside talented players from all over the world, while giving our more junior members the opportunity to develop through our youth system and go on to represent Limerick Celtics at Senior level in years to come.
We have had some great highlights in the past number of years and as a club, we are so proud of the achievements of all our players and teams to date. In the past two seasons alone our Celtics teams have won over 50 titles in North Munster, Cork, National and European level. We had a fantastic tour to Spain in 2019, where we played in the GloBasket International Basketball tournament, winning the U14 girls and U16 boys finals against stiff European competition. Another highlight was Michelle’s selection to the Basketball Ireland Hall of Fame in 2020 and Jodie Waite announced as the Irish Wheelchair Basketball Female Player of the Year in 2019/20.
What challenges do you face in the club if any?
Over the years, trying to secure sufficient hours in local sports halls has been a challenge. As the Club grows, the demands on facilities increase. We are particularly grateful to the schools across the city (Crescent Comprehensive College, St. Munchin’s College and LETSS Secondary School) that we have partnered with to ensure that we can run regular training sessions and games for all our age groups.
Of course, this season has been challenging like no other because of COVID-19. While restrictions allowed we were running outdoor sessions, but for now we are running on-line training sessions. Our boys and girls have been engaging enthusiastically – in houses, gardens and on the street! Hopefully, this will help to keep up the fitness and skills, so that we can hit the ground running when we’re allowed back on the court!
What difference is the Basketball Ireland Club Mark going to make for your club?
The Club Mark award means a lot to us all in Limerick Celtics and we are extremely proud. This validation of our governance is extremely important - both for our members, but also for our engagement with the wider community. It is great that the hard work put in over the years by so many has been recognised.
Do you think you will engage with the club mark system and achieve all the way up to Platinum Club Mark? If so, what do you need to do to get your club to this stage?
We will definitely continue to engage with the Club Mark system. We have looked at the next levels and there is a clear and logical path. First we will take time to ensure that our revised and new policies for Bronze Club Mark are well understood and rolled out across the club. We will then build on this and work towards the Silver Club Mark. Working towards Gold and Platinum is definitely part of the plan for the future.
What are the goals for the season ahead?
Given the times that we’re in, our main goal is to ensure that all our players and members stay safe. We will continue with our online training for our underage and National League teams. We are also ready to re-start our outdoor training as soon as possible. It would be wonderful if we could get back to indoor training and have a few competitive games before the end of the season, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
More generally, we will continue to focus on player and team development – both underage and National League. Our underage boys’ and girls’ teams have gained a great reputation in the Cork league, North Munster league, and at national level. We plan to build on this and aim to compete at the highest levels in the 2020-2021 season. The Club Mark process will help to ensure that all the supporting structures are in place to support our players and teams to reach their full potential.
What would you say to other clubs thinking about getting involved in the Basketball Ireland Club Mark?
Do not hesitate! The Club Mark process is so worthwhile and the clear guidance and support from Basketball Ireland mean it is achievable for any size of Club. As well as the individual benefits to your club, it will help to strengthen our basketball community in Ireland.