Aine McKenna played captain’s part in Glanmire’s three-in-row

Basketballer wins The Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman Award for January

It was a long enough trek from Duagh to Tallaght for Aine McKenna’s family, but it was

worth it. Not only did they see her Glanmire club Team Montenotte put on a master class in the National Cup final, when they beat Killester 96-64, they had the pleasure of seeing her raise the trophy as captain.

And, for good measure, they saw her collect the most valuable player award.

“It was so nice having them there, and for them to see me lift the cup was special,” said McKenna, a native of the north Kerry village who joined Glanmire as an 18-year-old eight years ago.


Their victory last month saw them win the National Cup for a record sixth time – and achieve a three in a row. McKenna is one of four players on the team who now has five winner’s medals to their name, along with sisters Grainne and Niamh Dwyer and Amanda O’Regan.

“There have been lots of special days, but to be honest this one would top them all. We just played so well on the day. Killester have been going really well in the league this season, so we were very wary. I think that helped us. We were expecting a close one so we had to come out fast at the start.”

McKenna led by example, scoring 10 points in four first-quarter minutes. The lead she gave her team was never relinquished and by full-time they had become only the third women’s team to score 80 points or more in three decades of National Cup basketball.

“And it wasn’t just our starting five, our bench was so good. Everybody came on, they all scored about 10 points – you can’t beat a team when its bench is doing that. I know I picked up the MVP award, but they literally could have given it to anybody. Even one of our younger girls, Sarah Kenny, scored about eight points in six minutes.”

McKenna, a PE and maths teacher at Kinsale Community School, loves her sport.

“I didn’t play club basketball until I got to college and Glanmire has been my only club since. We’re all great friends off the court as well, we’ve been through a lot, lots of great days. But yeah, this one beat all. I’m still buzzing from it.”

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times