Ireland role helping Fr Mathew's coach Niamh Dwyer hit new heights

Tipp native and long-time Cork resident was a star player on the court and is now building her reputation on the sideline
Ireland role helping Fr Mathew's coach Niamh Dwyer hit new heights

Fr Mathew's coach Niamh Dwyer gives a pep talk. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

NIAMH DWYER was one of best basketball players that this country has seen and produced. And I’m talking about including the men’s game in that statement.

She played college basketball in America, then played professionally in two different countries, won every honour that could be won while playing SuperLeague basketball with Glanmire and Fr Mathew’s and she also represented her country at every level.

Niamh is now is focused on her coaching career. She coaches Fr Mathew’s in the Women’s SuperLeague and also in Glanmire Community School, where she is a teacher.

This has been a busy summer for Niamh as traveled to Hungary to be part of the coaching staff with the Irish Women’s U20 team. This was a great opportunity for Niamh to continue to learn about the game she loves and continue to learn against some of the best teams in Europe.

“Coaching over the summer was a great experience for me,” Niamh said. “It has been an honour to represent my country as a player and I feel the same as a coach.

Fr Mathew's Niamh Dwyer celebrates after a win in 2019. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Fr Mathew's Niamh Dwyer celebrates after a win in 2019. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

“It was great to be part of a program that was committed to improving players and trying to raise the standards of Irish basketball even if the results did not go our way.

“Competing at the A level at the U20 Women’s European Championship was a great way to challenge myself as a coach.

“I was very proud to be part of the program and to contribute as an assistant to Karl Kilbride.

“I think it’s always important as coach to continuously learn, as there is so much we as coaches improve.

“Over in Hungary, we competed with teams that have incredible resources at their disposal.

“Teams like Italy and Spain with numerous coaches as with specific roles to focus on. Karl, Andy and myself were doing the jobs between us to prepare the team as professional as we could.

Working with those guys to see how committed they are to the sport and the team was an absolute joy.

“I learned from watching them and I hope they learned from me. It is always easier from the outside looking in to criticise and pick fault, however, that is part of sport, but being on the ground and working in self-funded programs and trying to compete against professional programs is hard.

“As an Irish team we punched above our weight in these championships, and we did so because of the players and coaches’ commitment and passion for the sport and that should always be applauded.

“Coaching at this level over the summer has highlighted to me the amount I still have to learn.

“Scouting the opposition has allowed me to see different ways/philosophies of approaching the sport.

“The level of execution from the top teams in Europe was great to see. Lapses in concentration are severely punished and plan C, D are needed as the games progress.

“Being able to adjust quickly as a coach is during games is even more crucial and having players prepared to do that it a tough ask with the limited time Irish coaches have with players."

Fr. Mathew's coach Niamh Dwyer. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Fr. Mathew's coach Niamh Dwyer. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Niamh also completed her level two basketball course this summer, a course that took her two years to complete with Sport Ireland.

“Over the summer I was also involved with completing my Level 2 coaching course.

“This was another great experience of learning from other coaches on the course and with the coaches delivering the modules.

“My experiences as a player have given me a lot of knowledge but using that knowledge from the coaching perspective is the next big step for me and one I’m looking forward to.

“I hope to continue this development as the season progresses with Fr Mathew’s in the Women’s Super League.”

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