Ireland Senior Men Return To Action
December 16, 2015
The Ireland Senior Menâs Basketball Programme will reenter European competition in 2016.
The news follows the recent reinstatement of the Senior Womenâs programme, with both squads set to compete in the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries.
Irelandâs Senior Men were last active in 2009 with a side featuring current Menâs Premier League players Colin OâReilly, Conor Grace, Jason Killeen, Isaac Westbrooks and Stephen King. OâReilly has been named as Head Coach of the 2016 squad.
âThe timing is right,â said the Coach of current National League and Cup champions C&S UCC Demons. âIt means a lot to players to stand for the national anthem and represent their country in their chosen sport. Thereâs a lot of guys who have done it at underage and this is the right step at the right time.â
OâReilly was also coach of the Menâs Premier League Select squad at the 2015 Sino-European Championships in China and the Hibernia combined-club side who took part in the FIBA Europe Cup.
âIf you bring the best players in the country together for sessions, fellas are going to improve,â he said. âBut there has to be a structure for elite players providing higher levels of training, strength and conditioning as well as more variety in coaching. Weâre trying to build continuity but there will be guys coming in who werenât available before. Itâs a one-off tournament but that canât be the end goal.â
The project will be administered by the Menâs National Competitions Committee following their request to the Elite Performance Committee and Board of Basketball Ireland. As with all currently active International squads, the programme will be self-funded.
In addition to the European Championships for Small Countries for Men and Women, Ireland will be competing at European Championships at U16, U18 and U20 levels in 2016. U15 and U17 development squads bring the total number of active International squads to 12.
Speaking about the announcement, Basketball Ireland Secretary General Bernard OâByrne said: âThis is a logical development following the ventures to China last summer and the Hibernia games. I am sure the players will rise to this next test and I wish them well."
The FIBA European Championship for Small Countries is the third tier of the biannual FIBA EuroBasket competition for senior teams. The nine participating countries in 2016 Menâs Competition are: Andorra, Armenia, Gibraltar, Ireland, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, San Marino and Wales.
The 2016 tournament will take place in Chisinau, the capital city of Moldova over seven days at time to be confirmed in the summer of 2016.
Ireland were second in the inaugural competition in 1988 and winners in 1994 to gain promotion to Division B. That was followed by seven campaigns in Europeâs second tier up to and including EuroBasket 2009.
Colin OâReilly was Irelandâs top scorer over the eight games of the 2009 campaign. His teammates included current Menâs Premier League players Stephen King (UL Eagles), Jason Killeen (Templeogue BC), Conor Grace (Templeogue BC) and Isaac Westbrooks (GCD Swords Thunder)