Mark Finney and Conor Browne who have been selected as the new captain and vice-captain at Craigavon Lakers Wheelchair Basketball Club.
Craigavon Lakers Wheelchair Basketball Club have wasted no time in selecting their new captain and vice-captain.
The Lakers have returned to training in recent weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic stalled their momentum and saw several members of their team depart.
However, with new state-of-the-art training facilities at the South Lake Leisure Centre and a strong determination to bounce back, the Lakers have announced Mark Finney as the new captain and Conor Browne as vice-captain.
Mark and Conor have been at the Lakers since the early days and have years of experience playing the sport which the club hopes will add to their success moving forward.
The new skipper believes that good times are ahead for the club and insists “he hasn’t looked back” since starting with the Lakers back in 2009.
“I feel immensely proud and honoured to be given the role of captain,” Mark said.
“The club have put great faith in me so I plan on doing my best to repay them on court.
“It’s been a tough time recently for the club due to the pandemic, the change of training facilities and we are still in the process of rebuilding and recruiting.
“Having finally got settled into our amazing new home at South Lake Leisure Centre, I see good things on the horizon for the Lakers.
“Hopefully with the experience Conor and I have gained, we can help move the club forward to grow, compete and help promote the sport of wheelchair basketball in the area.
“My interest in basketball actually first came from watching the movie Space Jam as a kid as Michael Jordan was my idol.
“I played a little bit in high school but wasn’t very good as I was a little bit on the tubby side. As far as my wheelchair basketball background goes, I’m still a bit of a novice. I trained and played a bit for the Antrim Knights back in the day, which was great learning experience.
“Unfortunately due to injury I had to take a few years off.
“After hearing that a new club called the ‘Craigavon Lakers’ had formed just down the road from me in 2019, I decided to go and have a nosey. Straight away the club made me feel welcome.
“I loved the family atmosphere and companionship between everyone, so I joined there and then and haven’t looked back.”
Conor admits he will be looking to use leadership skills after the promotion to vice-captain in the weeks and months ahead.
“I feel honoured to be vice captain of this club!
“I can’t wait to share my experience of wheelchair basketball with the players and play a more integral role within the club.
“I think Mark and I share similar determination and drive in terms of progression, plus both having experience in working as a team.
“I think we will be a good influence within the club and share our determination and drive with the players, not only with the players we have, but also for our future players and to help get more recruitment and to progress more as a club week on week.
“I started wheelchair basketball at the age of 10 with the Knights Wheelchair Basketball Club.
“However I stopped at the age of 16 due to personal circumstances, but after two years out of basketball, I was craving a new start and it just so happens that Craigavon Lakers were starting the birth of their own club.
“With it being closer to home for me I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to go and try out.”
The Lakers train every Wednesday at the South Lake Leisure Centre from 7pm to 8:30pm.
Males and females over the age of 14 and want to play are urged to contact the Craigavon Lakers Wheelchair Basketball Club Facebook page and they will be made more than welcome.