Jun 20 2024

Hall of Famer Noel Keating pays tribute to the late Richie O'Mahoney

Richie was one of the most intelligent, modest, decent and committed people I came across in Irish Basketball. At the time of his untimely death he was due to shortly attend a meeting of a new Working Group on Primary Schools Basketball set up by the CEO John Feehan. Richie was a very successful and respected coach with Tullamore Basketball Club and brought teams in his minibus all around the midlands and further afield for many years. He also served on the Midland Juvenile and the Midland Area Boards.

Having been born in the Kerry Gaeltacht, it is not surprising that his first sports love was football and he enjoyed a distinguished playing career, lining out for the Kerry Junior team in 1994, winning a County Senior title with West Kerry, a West Kerry Championship as captain of the Gaeltacht team, and an Offaly Senior Football Championship in 2000 with Tullamore.

Unlike most coaches in Irish Basketball, Richie did not play competitive basketball in his youth. He got involved with Tullamore BC through his children and quickly became fascinated with and immersed in the game. He read widely, availed of BI coaching courses, took advice from top coaches, and was highly regarded as a successful coach, bringing players to international level. He planned to take early retirement in the coming years and having done a BI referees course recently, he was thinking of becoming a registered referee then.

I first came across Richie, when as a teacher in Gaelscoil an Eiscir Riada, he attended a local workshop on Primary Schools Mini-Basketball in 2013. He agreed to become the Chairman of the newly formed Offaly Primary Schools Mini-Basketball Board and in 2015 he became Chairman of the Primary Schools Mini-Basketball National Committee (PSMNC) and member of the then BI Council.

The number of BI registered local Area Boards grew under his stewardship, workshops were held in Colleges of Education, the online teaching videos began to be used by Colleges and the Professional Development Service for Teachers, and a new brochure outlining the ethos and activities of Primary Schools Mini-Basketball was produced.

Unfortunately, the PSMNC suffered particularly badly from Covid and while local activity levels remained high, it is only now that it has been possible to begin a national programme of expansion. Richie was looking forward to playing a significant part in this development and he was discussing ideas for the Working Group just 24 hours before he died.

Our condolences go to his wife Breda, his four children Rebecca, Aoibheann, Cian and Mia, his extended family, his school, his club, his colleagues in Primary Schools Mini-Basketball, and to his many friends.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Noel Keating