Tom Wilkinson, Michelle Aspell, Caroline Forde and Noel Keating have been inducted into the Basketball Ireland Hall of Fame during Saturday’s 2021/22 Annual Awards and Hall of Fame ceremony in Dun Laoghaire.
The Address UCC Glanmire, who won the MissQuote.ie Super League, InsureMyHouse.ie Paudie O’Connor Cup and MissQuote.ie Champions Trophy, saw Claire Melia named ‘MissQuote.ie Super League Player of the Year’ and Mark Scannell awarded ‘MissQuote’ .ie Super League Coach of the Year ‘. The ‘MissQuote.ie Super League Young Player of the Year’ was won by WIT Waterford Wildcats player Sarah Hickey.
Double winning Garvey’s Tralee Warriors, were also handed a pair of prizes, with John Dowling the ‘InsureMyVan.ie Super League Coach of the Year’, while the ‘InsureMyVan.ie Super League Player of the Year’ gong went to Aaron Calixte.
C&S Neptune’s Cian Heaphy rounded up a fine season, in which he made his senior international debut, by claiming the ‘InsureMyVan.ie Super League Young Player of the Year’. UCC Demons, who were promoted to the InsureMyVan.ie Super League and won the InsureMyHouse.ie Presidents’ National Cup, got their hands on three awards. Daniel O’Mahony was named ‘InsureMyVan.ie Division 1 Coach of the Year’, while Tobias Christiansen was chosen as ‘InsureMyVan.ie Division 1 Player of the Year’ and Tala Fam Thiam as the ‘InsureMyVan.ie Division 1 Player of the Year’ ‘.
It was a big day for Limerick Celtics, they picked up Area Board Club of the Year; Jordan Hehir was named Women’s Underage Coach of the Year; Tiarnan O’Donnell claimed the Irish Wheelchair Basketball Men’s Player of the Year and Jodie Waite was selected as Irish Wheelchair Basketball Women’s Player of the Year, along with Michelle Aspell’s Hall of Fame induction.
Speaking of her induction to the Hall of Fame, Aspell said: “To be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame is such an honor. I am grateful to be recognized as a contributor to the sport that has given me so much. I am also grateful to my family and all the friends I have made along the way who have supported, helped and shared my basketball journey with me. Without those people, I wouldn’t be where I am today in the sport that I love. ”
Aspell, is a three-time Women’s Super League player of the Year (2004, 2005 and 2008), and her playing career saw her claim six Super League titles and five National Cup’s while representing Waterford Wildcats and UL. Internationally she was a key player for Ireland, including a game high 18 points in a FIBA Women’s EuroBasket qualifier win over Holland in 2009. Off the court she helped set up Limerick Celtics alongside Tony Hehir.
Fellow inductee, Tom Wilkinson, had a decorated career with Neptune and Blue Demons saw him win eight Super League titles and three National Cup’s, as well as representing Ireland over 100 times.
“It’s a great honor and privilege to be inducted into Basketball Ireland Hall of Fame and join an elite group of previous inductees, along with my fellow nominees this year. I dedicate this to my wife Kay and family who encouraged me to play as long as I did. I’d like to thank all my former coaches and teammates, who helped me achieve many successes in the sport. Special thanks to Denis Wallace and Neptune BC, who nominated me for this award, as well as Kieran Shannon and the rest of the Hall of Fame committee. “, Wilkinson said.
Caroline Forde also entered the Hall of Fame. She represented Ireland over 100 times, and is a multiple Super League and and National Cup winner with Blarney, Lee Strand Tralee and Waterford Wildcats, including MVP performances in the 1987 and 1993 National Cup finals, while playing for Blarney and Tralee respectively.
Forde said: “Delighted and honored, and at the same time humbled as well to be recognized by the basketball community for my achievements on the basketball court, and to be inducted into the Basketball Ireland Hall of Fame, with fellow player inductees Michelle Aspell, who was a teammate of mine in Waterford, and fellow Corkonian Tom Wilkinson. ”
Noel Keating was honored for the vital administrative part he played in the sport, which included serving as Basketball Ireland CEO from 1983-1996. He played a vital role in bringing the National Basketball Arena and National Cup to fruition.
Keating stated: “I am honored and delighted to be inducted in the Basketball Ireland Hall of Fame. I am particularly mindful at this time of the support I received from my family, the dedication of so many teachers, volunteers in various local and national roles and hard-working staff colleagues. Wonderful memories. ”