THE newly finalised Ireland U18 men’s basketball team will take to Neptune stadium to host Great Britain this Wednesday and Thursday at 8PM.
A pair of Cork natives have made Paul Kelleher’s final cut of players to take with him to the FIBA U18 European Championships in Romania which begin at the end of the month.
Brendan Douanla and Jamie Cotter, both products of Ballincollig BC’s underage programs, have been listed in the squad ahead of what will be an intense period of preparation.
The talented twelve selected to represent Ireland boast a plethora of skill, with three players having already secured spots abroad for next season in the UK and the US.
One of whom is Cotter who just completed his second season in England playing both for the John Madejski Academy and as a part of British Basketball League setup, Reading Rockets.
Coming from a star-studded basketball family as a cousin of Adrian, Ciarán and Ronan O’Sullivan, Jamie has certainly lived up to the lofty expectations that have surrounded him from an early age.
This group will play at the competitive level with Ireland for the first time this July, missing out on their window at the U16 grade as a result of the pandemic.
Cotter will compete alongside talented forward and former teammate Douanla who already had international caps in a series of friendlies when he travelled with Pat Price’s U16 team to Belarus in 2018.
While Douanla was unfortunate to fall short of the final cut then, he has now become an important cog in Kelleher’s offensive scheme as a passing and scoring big man at the U18 level.
Coach Kelleher has done an excellent job in making up for lost time with a relatively inexperienced group, hosting numerous exhibition games on home soil.
The group has already taken on Slovakia, Luxembourg as well as Neptune BC graduate Conor O’Sullivan’s alma mater, Birmingham Southern College.
Following this week’s clash with Great Britain, the squad will travel to Porto to take on Switzerland and Portugal in what will be their last set of games before the tournament.
These encounters will be a telling test for Kelleher’s men, with GB having numerous players returning home from America, alongside many members involved with BBL setups, also.
Tickets will be available at the door of Neptune Stadium in what promises to be a competitive clash between the very best basketball talent the UK and Ireland have to offer.
Ireland Men’s U18 Basketball Team:
Aivaras Uosis (Garvey’s Tralee Warriors), Brendan Douanla (Ballincollig BC), Daniel Carberry (Templeogue BC), Greg Marinkovic-Augustine (NABA Lanzarote), Jack Kehoe (IT Carlow & Old Leighlin), Jamie Cotter (Reading Rockets), Joseph Badejo (Dundalk Ravens), Max Tyndall (Drogheda Wolves), Ruairi Cronin (Limerick Celtics, Choate Rosemary Hall), Ryan Calo (Phoenix BC, Belfast), Sean Fitzpatrick (Malahide BC), Tony Ezeonu (The Phelps School, PA).