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Sports News

10 November, 2011 - 21:32

The Olympic Flame is coming to Craigavon next year and the Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Alan Carson wants all of Craigavon to welcome the Flame as it travels through.

“We are proud to confirm that on Tuesday 5th June next year the Olympic Flame will reach Craigavon. Torchbearers will carry the Olympic Flame through the main streets of Portadown, but I’m urging the entire Borough young and old to come out and support this fantastic accolade for Craigavon”, comments the Mayor of Craigavon Councillor Alan Carson.

“Further details of the Relay will be announced closer to the time and I know it will receive a great welcome from the area. The Olympic Torch relay will shine a spotlight on the people and places of Craigavon and demonstrate that the Olympic Spirit is alive and well”.

Theresa Donaldson Chief Executive says, “Undoubtedly the reason that Craigavon was chosen is because of its proud sporting history and range of sports offered across the Borough. I know that the whole community will turn out in strong support of the Olympic Flame. This is a great day for Craigavon”.

 Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG said, “We are thrilled to confirm that Portadown will act as a host location for the Olympic Flame, extending an invitation to people throughout Craigavon  to welcome the Olympic Torch Relay during its journey around the UK. This is the UK’s moment to shine and I want to encourage people across Craigavon to start planning how they can be part of this once in a lifetime opportunity and show their support for the inspirational Torchbearers chosen to carry the Olympic Flame as we count down to the start of the Olympics”. 

21 April, 2011 - 19:56



Basketball Northern Ireland (BNI) in association with Craigavon Intercultural Programme (CIP) brought the BNI Senior Basketball Finals to Craigavon Leisure Centre, Brownlow recently.

This was the second year in succession that BNI and CIP teamed up to bring this prestigious sporting event to Brownlow.

The main organiser and Senior League Convenor for BNI, Mark O’Neill, stated that he brought the event back to Craigavon again after an excellent weekend last year.  Mark added Craigavon LC is a perfect facility to hold the Senior Finals.  It is spacious, which is vital for the numbers of spectators the Finals attract, the staff are wonderful and BNI are very grateful to Stephen Smith and Craigavon Intercultural Programme for their continued support.  Basketball in the Craigavon area is flourishing.  Many people may be unaware that Basketball is the national sport in Lithuania and as such BNI competitions have expanded greatly over the last few seasons.

The Finals were held over two days.  On the Saturday 8 teams competed in the Men’s Division 1 and Premier Leagues semi finals.  The first semi saw Bangor Sharks take on Tyrone Towers (Dungannon) with the Towers running out winners 55 – 52 in a very close game.  Next up was the Premier semi final between Letterkenny IT and Queen’s Hornets.  This again was a very close encounter with the Hornet’s scraping through 72 – 68.  Third up was the Division 1 clash of Strabane Zenith v Dungannon Cavaliers.  Cavaliers ran out comfortable winners in this one 84 – 66.  The last game of the day pitched Ballymena Blackstone against Dungannon Cavaliers with the winners looking for a place in the Premier Final the following afternoon.  And what a game it turned out to be.  It had everything and will be remembered for the slam dunk of Alex Prymus of Blackstone.  However in a pulsating game Cavaliers dug deep and edged out the Ballymena side 83 – 72.  This was a fantastic day of basketball and ensured the following day would be something special.

Sunday began with the BNI Ladies Premier Final which saw QUB ladies take on their counterparts Queen’s ladies to see who would be crowned champions.  Both teams put on an excellent exhibition of basketball and it was Queen’s ladies who had the upper hand running out worthy winners 62 – 38.  A special mention goes to the Queen’s #10 Liva Oseniece who picked up the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.

This set the stage for a repeat of the previous year’s Division 1 Final between Tyrone Towers and Dungannon Cavaliers with both teams not wanting to let their supporters and neutrals alike down.  In an evenly matched game Cavaliers always kept their noses in front by a few points.  Towers rallied strongly in the fourth quarter but Cavaliers were not to be denied the Cup and came through in the end 72 – 61 to the rapturous appreciation of the supporters.  The MVP went to the Cavaliers #3 Audrius Verikas.

Last up was the showcase game, the BNI Men’s Premier League Final.  There was a capacity crowd with every vantage point taken both in the hall and up in the viewing gallery.  One thing is certain when a Lithuanian based team reaches a basketball final and that is, it will be very noisy.  And their supporters didn’t disappoint, with their drums, horns, empty water bottles and singing, making the atmosphere electric.

The first quarter ended 27 – 20 in favour of the Cavaliers.  Half time saw Cavaliers maintain their lead 42 – 37.  At the end of the third quarter the game remained evenly poised with the Cavaliers holding a slender lead 58 – 54.  This was the game the fans had come to see.  With ten minutes remaining it was anyone’s game.  Which team would hold their nerve?   

The minutes ticked by and the teams traded baskets.  There was never more than 4 points between them. With seconds remaining Cavaliers lead 74 – 72 but out of nowhere Queen’s came up with the ball and went down the court and scored on the buzzer leaving the teams tied 74 – 74.  A better script could not have been written.

This meant 5 minutes overtime.  Once again both teams traded baskets.  The atmosphere and noise was deafening.  Craigavon LC had never witnessed this level of excitement or intensity in a sporting event.  With seconds remaining on the clock the scores were locked again on 91 – 91 but team fouls took their toll and Queen’s gave away two free throws.  Up stepped the Cavalier’s #13 Nerisus Kersis.  He missed his first shot but calmly slotted home the second.  With 6 seconds remaining Queen’s came down the court but their final effort bounced out and on the final buzzer Cavaliers became champions with a score line of 92 – 91.  Cavaliers #22 Mantas Macikus was the deserved recipient of the MVP award.

It was a splendid ending to an enthralling weekend of Basketball.  Dungannon Cavaliers had completed the men’s double and were duly crowned champions.