BY KIERAN McCARTHY
A CALL-OUT made on the Star Sport Podcast has led to Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí securing funding to purchase ten sports wheelchairs for basketball.
In a recent podcast chat with Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí teacher Pat Curran about the school’s basketball boom, he explained how one student, Oisin O’Connor, plays with the Rebel Wheelers’ wheelchair basketball team.
‘We are in the process of trying to get chairs for the school,’ explained Curran, sports coordinator at Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí.
‘Fergal Conlon from West Cork Development has found some money for us (in the Dormant Accounts Fund). Our goal is to get ten chairs so we can train in the school, so if there is anyone out there who would like to buy a chair for us we’d be delighted,’ he added.
Incredibly, Curran’s call was answered.
Kerryman Jim Hughes, named Basketball Ireland’s Boys’ School Coach of the Year in 2022, was listening to the podcast.
Hughes works as a primary care business manager at Healthcare 21 (a leading healthcare distributor), and saw the opportunity to help the Bantry school. He also knows Pat Curran through basketball.
‘That was the Eureka moment,’ Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí principal Marian Carey says.
‘Pat had broached the idea of the wheelchairs with me and I brought it to the board of management. Fergal Conlon then got involved. It was the podcast chat that brought it all together – Pat outlined what we wanted to do, Jim Hughes heard it, and he got on to Pat then.’
A meeting last week between Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí, Fergal Conlon (West Cork Development), Tim Burke (Cork Sports Partnership), Cliona Horan (Cork Sports Partnership Sports Inclusion Disability Officer) and Colin McCleverty (Healthcare 21) was extremely positive.
‘We are delighted to announce that in collaboration with Healthcare 21, West Cork Development Partnership and Bantry Community Sports Hub, we have secured funding from Cork Sports Partnership through the Dormant Accounts Fund towards the purchase of ten sports wheelchairs for sporting participation,’ the Bantry school proudly announced.
‘Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí will be the first school in Ireland to provide wheelchair sports as an integral part of our PE curriculum for Junior and Senior cycle students in the school.
‘The chairs will be used to roll out wheelchair basketball as part of our extra-curricular programme.
‘The chairs have been heavily supported by Healthcare 21 and will be made available by Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí to sporting groups and schools throughout West Cork to enhance delivery of wheelchair sport in the region.’