Ice challenge at the Mardyke Arena is next for Irish women's basketball squad

Ice challenge at the Mardyke Arena is next for Irish women's basketball squad
Mark Scannell, Senior Ladies Ireland Head Coach; basketball players Edel Thornton and team captain Grainne Dwyer; Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Joe Kavanagh and Francis O'Sullivan, Assistant coach. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Irish Senior Women’s coach Mark Scannell will be hoping his side can continue with their recent progress when they play Iceland at the Mardyke Arena on Friday.

Fresh from three games against Luxembourg in which they managed to win one coach Scannell believes it was a good workout for his players.

“We have a few new recruits and it was a chance for me to look at them playing at this level and overall I was pleased in the manner all the squad performed,” said Mark Scannell.

Iceland have made great strides in Women’s basketball over the last decade and with one game in Cork and the other in Dublin it will be a true test for all the Irish players according to Scannell.

“Iceland are always competitive and we will need to be at our best in both games but the Mardyke on Friday will be a good evening for all basketball fans to take in,” added Scannell.

Grainne Dwyer and Edel Thornton of the Irish senior ladies basketball team. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Grainne Dwyer and Edel Thornton of the Irish senior ladies basketball team. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Meanwhile, five teams have applied to join the Basketball Ireland Men’s Division One National League for the 2017/18 season.

Five applications were approved by the MNCC (Men's National Competitions Committee) following an interview process last weekend.

Titans from Co. Galway, who came bottom of the Men’s Division one league last year successfully reapplied for the Division this year.

The new acquisitions will be joined by four new Men's teams for this league Portlaoise Panthers, Ballincollig, LIT Celtics and St Paul’s Killarney.

Speaking about the news Chairman of the MNCC Bernard O’Byrne stated expressed his delight in how the sport is growing in this country.

“This is an exciting time for basketball in Ireland and we are delighted to see the continuing growth of our sport,” said Bernard O’Byrne.

“The addition of four new teams to the League further underlines the hard work and commitment that is being put in at underage level by clubs around the country.

“We are delighted to see a Midlands team joining the Men’s National League with the arrival of Portlaoise Panthers.

“They have enjoyed a lot of underage success and have a Women’s team in the SuperLeague so this was the next logical step for the club and we look forward to welcoming them.” The inclusion of another team from Cork playing at national level is also a huge plus according to O’Byrne.

“Ballincollig basketball club brings the number of Cork clubs to participating at National League level to four highlighting the great work that is being done in the Rebel county to grow and develop the sport,” added O’Byrne.

“In Kerry, St Paul’s basketball club are the third Kerry club to join the National League in as many years.

“Basketball Ireland are also delighted to welcome Limerick's LIT Celtics to the League in what should ensure a very competitive season.” The addition of the teams has increased the Men’s Division One League to 15 teams, with the five aforementioned teams joining: BFG Neptune, Ulster University Elks, ITC Basketball, Team Kilkenny, LYIT Donegal, Ej Sligo All-Stars, Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin, Fr Mathews, Dublin Lions and Radisson Blu UL Eagles.

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