Irish basketball teams in high spirits ahead of the Mardyke series

Irish basketball teams in high spirits ahead of the Mardyke series
Members of the Ireland Men's Basketball team, Jordan Blount, Patrick Lyons, Keelan Cairns, Adrian O'Sullivan, Eoghain Kiernan, Ciaran Roe and Paul Freeman. Picture: David Keane.

THE Irish senior men’s and women’s teams were both upbeat ahead of the Small Countries European Championships, as the squads assembled for a press briefing at Rearden’s.

The Mardyke Arena will host the FIBA Women’s European Basketball Championship for Small Countries from Tuesday (6.15pm), but coach, Mark Scannell, is confident.

“We have prepared well and are under no illusions of the challenge that lies ahead of us, but the mood in the camp is positive and, hopefully, we can do the business,” said Mark Scannell.

The Irish boss knows that the opening game against Norway, on Tuesday, will be a huge test for his side, but is confident they can go toe to toe with them. “The majority of teams in this championship will have players that have European club and American college experience and that is a huge advantage for any national side,” added Scannell.

Ireland women's coach Mark Scannell and men's team coach Pete Strickland sharing a lighter moment during the special Q&A session at Reardens Bar. Picture: David Keane.
Ireland women's coach Mark Scannell and men's team coach Pete Strickland sharing a lighter moment during the special Q&A session at Reardens Bar. Picture: David Keane.

Coach Scannell has had 11 weeks of preparations, but, in terms of funding, Ireland are miles behind their opponents.

“In fairness, Basketball Ireland are doing their best, but when you are playing teams with good budgets, it can be very difficult.”

The mood in the Irish women’s camp is positive and Glanmire ace point-guard, Aine McKenna, is hopeful her team will produce the goods on home terrain. 

Aine McKenna, Claire Rockall, Edel Thornton and Danielle O'Leary. Picture: David Keane.
Aine McKenna, Claire Rockall, Edel Thornton and Danielle O'Leary. Picture: David Keane.

“We have prepared diligently, since our league programme finished, and I am confident our team will produce the goods, as we are in great shape,” said Aine McKenna.

The Glanmire captain is appealing to the Cork basketball fraternity to get behind the Irish team. “I think we all know what home support can do to lift any side in sport and I think, if ever we needed that help, this is the occasion,” added McKenna.

The senior men’s team were also in attendance, as they prepare for their two-game international friendlies against Luxembourg, at the Mardyke Arena.

“We have a few players that didn’t make the squad, because of injuries, but the camaraderie in the camp is excellent and the games against Luxembourg will be good preparation for the European championships,” said coach, Pete Strickland.

The Irish men’s team kick off tonight, at the Mardyke Arena, at 7pm. Tomorrow, their second clash will take place at 4pm.

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