St Marys coach Culloty and players hit back at club’s decision to withdraw team from Women’s Superleague


Team Garvey’s St Marys coach Liam Culloty – with the backing of his players – has hit back at the Castleisland club’s decision to withdraw the team from the Women’s Super League for the foreseeable future, saying there are enough players available to compete, and expressing disappointment that neither he nor the players were consulted before the decision was made.

he St Marys Castleisland club released a statement to local media on Saturday saying the senior women’s team would not be in a position to remain in the Super League next season, stating they didn’t have the “numbers required”, which informed their “difficult decision”.

However, head coach Culloty posted a strong statement on Twitter late Tuesday night – accompanied with a screenshot of he and some of the players on a Zoom call – saying there are sufficient playing numbers to be competitive next season at the top level. He also said that he was disappointed that the decision was made without consultation with him or the players, and also that the decision to withdraw was communicated to the players and management via text message.

Head coach Liam Culloty’s statement in full reads:

‘As a group of players and management we would like to express our shock and disappointment by the decision of the financial committee of our club to withdraw our team from the Women’s Superleague for the upcoming season.

‘Over the past 5 years we have travelled all over the country competing at Division 1level, and when the opportunity arose to gain promotion to the Superleague last season we were delighted to accept it and play basketball at the highest level in this country. We were the first Kerry team to play in the Women’s Superleague in 16 years.

‘We felt as a group we needed to make this statement for two reasons. Firstly, the message that was released in the media over the weekend was that we did not have enough players to make up a team. Currently we have eight Irish players from around the county fully committed to playing Superleague and we had hoped with the addition of one or two professionals players along with some of the fantastic underage talent emerging in the county that we would have a squad more than capable of competing. Alas, we were never given this opportunity to recruit further players to the squad.

‘Secondly, and most disappointingly, the message that the club were withdrawing from Superlague was delivered to both players and management via text message, with no effort made to meet the players and management informing them of the decision before it was released to the media on Saturday. The very least we felt we deserved was the opportunity to fight our corner and see could a solution be found to allow the team to stay in the league.

‘We certainly experienced a lot of ups and downs in the season last year. We competed for 70% of the season without any professional player. The establishment of a Superleague team in Kerry has fulfilled a dream and created a pathway for ladies basketball players in Kerry to aspire to. The presence of so many young players from around the county at our home games after the lifting of the Covid 19 restrictions is testament to the impact the team has made. We deeply regret that we will not have the opportunity to grow the game among the basketball fraternity in Kerry in the coming season.’

In a statement issued to The Kerryman last Saturday, the St Marys club said: ‘St. Mary’s Basketball have made the difficult decision to not to compete in the Women’s Super League next season. While we realise that this is disappointing news for Kerry basketball, we did not have the numbers required to make up a team. The club plans to rebuild over the next few years and will hopefully compete at national level again in the near future. We wish to thank our sponsor Garvey’s Supervalu, our dedicated players, the coaching staff and our wonderful supporters.’

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