Basketballers from Neptune and Ballincollig included in Irish squad

Basketballers from Neptune and Ballincollig included in Irish squad
Eli Lenihan has had an excellent for Neptune and has the ability to thrive in an Irish singlet. Picture: Larry Cummins

THREE Cork players have been included in the Ireland U18 basketball squad.

Head coach of the team, Leesider Paul Kelleher, has announced a panel of 16 players which will be condensed to 12 for the European Championships this summer.

Neptune duo Eli Linehan and Seán McCarthy along with Ballincollig's Luke O'Sullivan have made the cut.

Sean McCarthy in action for Neptune. Picture Larry Cummins.
Sean McCarthy in action for Neptune. Picture Larry Cummins.

Lenihan and McCarthy were U18 National Cup winners in January when both players were in outstanding form in the basketball arena at Tallaght.

O'Sullivan is the youngest brother of Ballincollig veteran Daniel, while his sister Maria is an Irish underage soccer international.

Ballincollig basketball club underage players, from U11 up to U20, Seán O'Flynn, Tadhg Murphy, Luke O'Sullivan, Rory O'Flynn, Andrew O'Connor, Daithí Murphy and Isaac James.
Ballincollig basketball club underage players, from U11 up to U20, Seán O'Flynn, Tadhg Murphy, Luke O'Sullivan, Rory O'Flynn, Andrew O'Connor, Daithí Murphy and Isaac James.

Kelleher, the former Demons, Neptune and Glanmire head coach is also overseeing Basketball Ireland's U14 regional academy in the south. 

He explained there was no shortage of talent in contention.

The most high-profile baller is Belfast Star's CJ Fulton, who has been outstanding in the Men's Super League this season.

CJ Fulton of Belfast Star in action against Darragh O'Hanlon of Garvey's Tralee Warriors. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
CJ Fulton of Belfast Star in action against Darragh O'Hanlon of Garvey's Tralee Warriors. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

“I don’t think we have ever had a squad this deep for as long as we have for this group of young men," said Kelleher. 

"It is a testament to the entire squad of players, their clubs and schools that we have such a depth of talent for this generation. 

"We could have a number of players who were not selected to move forward with the programme, but could just as easily have been selected to the 16 players. 

"We are now in a privileged situation for the second year in a row, where we have the majority of our players significantly involved at Super League level and this can only benefit us for the future. The next selection of the final 12 won’t be easy!” 

Paul Kelleher has been involved with Ireland teams at various levels. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Paul Kelleher has been involved with Ireland teams at various levels. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

IRELAND U18 PANEL:

CJ Fulton, St Malachy’s College, Belfast Star;

Danas Smigelskis, Ofiaich College, Dundalk Ravens;

Darragh Ferguson, St Malachy’s College, Belfast Star;

Denzel Ebose, DCU, Drogheda Wolves;

Eli Lenihan, Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál, Neptune BC;

Jamie Muldowney, Coláiste Iosagaín, UCD Marian;

Killian Gribben, St. Eunan's, Letterkenny Blaze/LYIT Donegal;

Leeroy Odiahi, Mercy Mounthawk, Tralee Imperials/Warriors;

Luke O’Sullivan, Ballincollig CS, Ballincollig BC;

ND Okafor, NBA Academy Mexico;

Páraic Moran, Colaiste Eoin, Stillorgan, UCD Marian;

Rapolas Buivydas, St Mary’s CBS, St Brendan’s/Tralee Warriors;

Sam Alijiki, Barking Abbey, London;

Sean McCarthy, Coláiste Choilm, Neptune BC;

Tadhg Crowley, Trinity Pawling, New York;

Wede Esajobar, St Olivers, Drogheda Wolves.

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