Irish basketball team gets help from local volunteers after ODU camp canceled

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — One could say a teenage basketball team from Cork, Ireland has the luck of the Irish.

The teenagers planned a trip to Norfolk for the Old Dominion University basketball team. They have been fundraising for the camp for two years through contests, clothing drives and even by bagging groceries at supermarkets in Ireland.

The girls raised $31,000, booked the flights and hotels and then found out the coach for the camp left and the camp was canceled. However, the team wasn’t out of luck, thanks to local volunteers who are stepping in.

Jamar Simmons is the Event Operator for Boo Summer League and when he heard about the dilemma, he started making phone calls.

“When the ODU camp was canceled, we look at the idea of filling that void and we started to reach out to local high schools,” said Simmons.

The calls that Simmons made were quickly answered and he was able to set up games between the Brunell basketball team and Princess Anne, Deep Creek and a few others.

“I just couldn’t believe the way people reacted to us, it just blew my mind away,” said Kevin Harris, the coach of the Brunell Basketball Club.

Grace O’Malley’s Pub in Norfolk is hosting a free dinner for the girls. General Manager Robert Wallace says he’s excited for the girls to experience his restaurant.

“We heard about their story and we thought it would be nice to come over and feel comfortable.”

The restaurant also put fliers asking for donations for the team. So far, they’ve raised close to $500 for the girl’s transportation.

This is the luck of the Irish — and hopefully that reflects the score board.

“We hope to win. We hope to win. Win if we can,” said Harris.

Additionally, the Tidewater Irish American Society (IAS) offered to help. The IAS planned an event to host the team and their chaperones for a full-blown American cookout with everything from hot dogs to apple pie. In addition, the IAS will be donating a check to help with costs.