Ireland are competing in international basketball for the first time this summer, with the men’s and women’s U17’s back in action this week, looking to reach a major finals.
They're taking part in the European Qualifiers for FIBA U17 Skills Challenge 2020 and FIBA U17 Women’s Skills Challenge at the National Basketball Arena on Thursday and Friday.
Two sides from the 10 teams competing in European qualifying will reach next week’s finals, playing against the world’s best.
Ireland's U17 men are in Group A, alongside Poland, Israel, Belarus and Slovakia. Their first match-up is against Israel on Thursday.
Head coach Paul Kelleher has selected a five-person squad including Galway’s Ben Burke.
The Irish U17 women also start their campaign against Israel, followed by matches against Belarus, Poland and Gibraltar in Group A.
The Irish U17 women's head coach Karl Kilbride has named a nine-person squad for the FIBA U17 Women’s Skills Challenge. Hazel Finn from Kiltimagh, who has 39 international caps at U16 level and was Ireland’s top scorer at the last two FIBA U16 European Championships, will be among the panel.
Her Maree team mate Kara McCleane (23 U16 caps) along with Sarah Hickey (19 U16 caps) and Paris McCarthy (18 U16 caps) also represented Ireland at last year’s FIBA U16 European Championship. The squad also includes Shannon Cunningham, Maria Kealy, Rebecca Hynes, Aisling Marmion and Emily O’Dwyer.
Ireland must finish in the top-2 in their group to reach the European qualifier finals, which will take place on Sunday 16th. The winner of Group A will play the runner-up from Group B and vice-versa. The winners of those two qualifying finals will compete in the FIBA U17 Skills Challenge 2020.