THERE are three Cork players in the Ireland U20 Men’s basketball squad named by coach Paudie Fleming for the FIBA European Championships, which take place in Tbilisi, Georgia from July 15th-24th.
Neptune duo Eli Lenihan and Sean McCarthy with Fr Mathew’s Michael O’Mahony also named with the trio presently all strutting their skills with American colleges.
Lafayette College's CJ Fulton, who won the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries with the Ireland Senior squad in 2021 is a key member of the team.
Two other players, Assumption University forward Rapolas Buivydas and Ulster University's Darragh Ferguson will also look to use their experience and leadership to good effect in Georgia.
Five players are in line for a debut at this grade - Samuel Alajiki, Robert Graham, Sean McCarthy, Jamie Muldowney and Jake Verschoyle.
Verschoyle is the sole, new domestic representative, coming in from DBS Éanna, where he featured in the InsureMyVan.ie Super League this past season.
Earlier this year Ireland were drawn in Group C, alongside Latvia, Hungary and Bulgaria with the opening fixture on July 15 will see Ireland face Hungary.
They will subsequently face Latvia on Sunday July 17 before rounding off the group phase against Bulgaria on Wednesday July 20.
The first and second placed countries in Group A, B, C and D will advance to the quarter-finals, with the remainder making up a separate bracket to deicide 9th-16th placings.
Head coach Fleming is looking forward to the championship.
“It is wonderful to get our 12 selected. It was a very difficult process, as this group are very talented.
“I would like to acknowledge those players who have not made the 12 and our success we hope to have will be as much theirs as it is ours.
“Although we have a difficult draw, we won't fear anyone in our group as we are lucky to have an experienced group, who are consistently playing basketball at a very high level.
“The next few weeks will move quickly and we look forward to preparing as best as we can for the FIBA European Championships.
“Irish basketball is on the up and we hope to continue raising expectations and leave the green jersey in a better place for the next generation.”
Friday June 15th Ireland v Hungary, Tbilisi Olympic Palace, 18:15, FIBA YouTube Channel Sunday June 17th Ireland v Latvia, Tbilisi Arena, 18:15, FIBA YouTube Channel Wednesday June 20th Ireland v Bulgaria, Tbilisi Olympic Palace, 13:45, FIBA YouTube Channel
Ireland U20 squad:
Samuel Alajiki (University California Berkeley), Rapolas Buivydas (Assumption University), Darragh Ferguson (University of Ulster), CJ Fulton (Lafayette College), Robert Graham (Cheshire Phoenix), Killian Gribben (Sienna College), Eli Lenihan (Spring Hill College), Sean McCarthy (Felician University), Jamie Muldowney (Coker University), Leeroy Odiahi (Indian Hills College), Michael O'Mahony (Dominican College), Jake Verschoyle (DBS Éanna).