THE first Irish senior teams to compete internationally since 2019 get set for Euros Ireland’s senior men’s and women’s squads for the FIBA 3x3 Europe Cup qualifiers in Constanta, Romania have been named.
The tournament takes place this weekend, with places at the 3x3 Europe Cup finals (Paris, Sept 10-12) at stake.
It is also the first time since 2019 that an Irish senior team has competed, following the Covid-19 enforced absence of international fixtures.
Ireland’s men’s head coach Paul Kelleher has selected Paul Freeman, Seamus Hickey, Paddy Lyons and Nathan Moore in his four-person squad.
Ireland women’s head coach Matt Hall has chosen Claire Rockall, Fiona O’Dwyer, Sorcha Tiernan and Gráinne Dwyer.
Claire, Fiona and Gráinne all represented Ireland at 3x3 in 2019 & 2017, with Gráinne Dwyer also playing a part in the Irish 3x3 team which performed impressively at the Baku 2015 European Games, when they finished eight overall.
This will be Sorcha Tiernan’s first time representing Ireland at 3x3 internationally.
Ireland’s women are also the eight ranked team in the 12-team FIBA Europe Cup and play their matches on Saturday.
They are in Pool A with tournament hosts and number one ranked side Romania, who they start their campaign against.
Next up is 9th ranked Sweden, with knockout games following on the same day.
Ireland women’s head coach Matt Hall added: “We have had limited time to prepare, but Claire, Fiona and Gráinne all having a strong international pedigree and 3x3 experience.
"Sorcha Tiernan is coming in for her first 3x3 tournament, but she’s picked up European medals at underage level in the 5x5 format and is part of James Weldon’s senior squad now too, so she is a great addition to our 3x3 squad.
"The draw has been very kind to us, guaranteeing us qualification to the knockout classification games.
"We will be the first team traveling this summer for European competition, so it’s a little bit of the unknown, but the players have shown before they can compete at this level, so we go once again hoping to gain qualification to the Europe Cup finals.”
Ireland’s men, who are the lowest ranked team in the 15-team tournament, play all of their Group B games on Sunday.
They start against tournament second seeds Lithuania, followed by a contest against 10th seeds Georgia and finishing off their Group B campaign against seventh seeds and tournament hosts Romania.
A top two finish would see Ireland play in the knockout stages later that day.
Ireland men’s head coach Paul Kelleher said: “We’ve had a decent prep so far, the players have showed huge autonomy and the progress has been really good.
"There is very good chemistry and that could be hugely beneficial. Everyone is excited now for the tournament.”