Basketball

  • Longleitros Basketball Finals

    Senior Ladies and Men's at the Hub Castlerea

    Mustangs Castlebar overcame Longford Falcons by eight points in the Ladies decider.

    While in the men's Castlerea Kings defeated Longford Torpedos 93-70.

  • Head coach of the Ireland Under 18 women’s team Patrick O’Neill has today announced two co-captains who will led Ireland into a historic first ever appearance at A Division basketball.

    Dayna Finn (Mayo) and Bronagh Power-Cassidy (Dublin) have been selected to lead the Under 18 team at their debut at the FIBA Under 18 Women’s European Championship Division A, which tips off this Saturday in Udine, Italy.

    “It’s a huge honour to represent the team and Ireland as co-captains,” Finn said. “We know that it is a big step up to Division A, but we have prepared well and we know what we’re up against, so we’ll be ready for Poland on Saturday.”


  • Another piece of Irish basketball history was written this evening as the Ireland Under 18 women won their country’s first ever Division A basketball game and kept their hopes of retaining top tier status alive with a 53-52 point win over Sweden at the FIBA Under 18 Women’s European Championship Division A in Italy.

    Today’s win was not only Ireland’s first ever win at Division A, but now propels them forward to a final battle to retain their Division A status tomorrow (Sunday) in a winner-takes-all showdown against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    Dayna Finn delivered an incredible performance to drive Ireland over the line with a whopping 22 points, and it was apt that the Mayo woman was the one with the winning basket at the death for her team.

    Indeed, it was an all-round superb team performance, with enormous contributions off the bench as well, and head coach Patrick O’Neill was still stunned after the final buzzer

    “A little bit of history was made tonight – and we’re not done yet. I’m so unbelievably proud of this team!” he said. “The effort the girls put in was phenomenal. They dug deep and showed such resilience and mental fortitude to come back and take control - and of course, to get us our first ever win at Division A. The fans were amazing, to hear the singing as soon as we stepped on court was huge.”

    It was an intense game right from the off, with scores at an absolute premium, with neither side breaking the deadlock until over four minutes had been played. Scores from Finn and Katie Williamson followed, before Maeve Phelan released a superb buzzer beater at the end of the quarter to see Ireland lead 10-8.


    An even tighter second quarter followed, as Sweden retook the lead early, and the sides matched each other score for score as the clock ticked on. Bronagh Power Cassidy brought the sides level, before a score from Niamh Masterson again gave Ireland the edge at the end of the quarter, to lead by the minimum going in at half time, 20-19.

    The third quarter continued in the same vein, with nothing separating the sides. A huge three from Annaliese Murphy helped keep Ireland’s nose in front, before four quick points from Finn and a superb finish by Maeve Ó Séaghdha sealed the advantage at 40-29 at the end of the third.

    The early exchanges of the fourth quarter saw Ireland gain more traction, with some nice shooting early on. However, comeback queens Sweden weren’t going down without a fight, and with just under five minutes to play, they suddenly had it back to a three-point game (45-42). Two minutes later, the game was all square once more, and foul trouble for the Irish saw Sweden take the lead from the free throw line with just two minutes left. Superb play from Ella McCloskey and Finn sent Ireland ahead (51-50) with 41 seconds to play and Irish fans everywhere could barely watch as the remaining seconds began to tick down.

    A steal and a lay-up by Sweden seemed to have dashed Irish hopes with 10 seconds to go, but a superb inbound from Enya Maguire found the hero of the hour, Dayna Finn, and she drove with style to the basket for that all-important winning score and the arena erupted as the full time buzzer sounded with Ireland ahead by the smallest of margins, 53-52.

    The battle is far from over for the team however as they now face a winner-takes-all clash with Bosnia and Herzegovina tomorrow afternoon. The winner will retain Division A status for another year, while the loser of the game will be relegated back to Division B.

    Over in Sarajevo meanwhile, it was another clash with Sweden for Irish fans, as the Ireland Under 16 men’s team also faced them in their third group game. There was an extra added twist to this encounter as the Sweden head coach is well-known Irish coach, Michael Bree.

    The boys in green launched a fantastic comeback in the second half, and were unlucky in the end as time ran out, and they lost out 70-73 in their third game of the FIBA Under 16 European Championships.

    Ireland had a slow start to the first quarter as Sweden took an early 8-0 lead until a foul on Rapolas Buivydas sent him to the line to get Ireland’s first score. A Cj Fulton and Eli Lenihan team-up saw Ireland close the gap, while Sweden’s aggressive defence saw them fall into early foul trouble. This suited Ireland as Buivydas, went to the free throw line once more to give Ireland their first lead of the game and they led by one at the end of the first.  

    The second quarter saw a fiery and ferocious Swedish side hit the court with an explosive start. As Ireland took their time to get back to the pace of the game, Sweden profited on every mistake, gaining scores on fast breaks and turnovers and suddenly, Ireland were facing a 10-point deficit. As Sweden began to tire, Ireland started to find holes in their defence drawing fouls to put Sweden into foul trouble once more but the Irish still trailed 28-37 at half time.

    Ireland laid everything they had on the line in the third quarter as they dug deep to close the gap. Slick shooting by Collins and Fulton saw Ireland regain their one-point lead, but the uphill battle continued as Sweden’s Oliver Cupan’s three-pointers found the net nearing the end of the quarter to push them five points ahead.


    It was an all-or-nothing final quarter, and after all the hard work Ireland had done in the third quarter, they were close to running on empty. Sweden once more exploded out onto the court, increasing their lead. Fulton was once more the answer to Ireland’s prayers as he hit a super shot and drew a foul to head straight to the line. Sweden found themselves on team fouls in the final minutes of the game and with strong defensive rebounds from Buivydas and Collins, Ireland managed to close the gap to just six points. Back-to-back shots from Fulton followed by a score from Lenihan saw Ireland in the lead with just one minute to go. Unfortunately, Sweden’s slick shooter Cupan found the net with a crucial three-pointer to see them run out 70-73 winners.

      

  • Gortnor Abbey won the All-Ireland U-16 basketball league final today.

    The Crossmolina girls defeated St Colmcille’s of Dublin by 28-22, with the MVP award for Most Valuable Player going to Caoimhe Walsh of Gortnor Abbey.

     

  • Head coach of the Ireland Under 16 women’s team, Karl Kilbride, has today announced his final roster of 12 players for this summer’s FIBA Under 16 Women’s European Championship Division B which will take place in Montenegro from August 16th to 25th, 2018.

    Speaking about the announcement, Coach Kilbride stated: “This is by far the toughest decision I've ever had to make. As a coach, over the 18 months of the programme, you develop a bond with the players, so to tell a player their journey has ended at the final hurdle is very tough. There have been many sleepless nights in the last while.

    “We had a big problem - and it was a great problem to have - in that we have 16 incredible players and we would have been happy - and counted ourselves lucky - to bring any of the 16 to Montenegro. Every one of them has done everything we've ever asked of them from day one. They couldn't have done any more or worked any harder and they should be so proud of all they've put in and how far they've come. For those who didn’t make it, I really hope they use the experience and channel it into them continuing to work and improve in order to make sure that the next time, they will get that one step further.

    “The team we picked are the 12 players that we feel give us the best chance at having a successful European Championships. For those 12, the hard work has only just begun and they have a gruelling four months ahead of them between now and August - but from what we've learned of them over the last 18 months, that's a task they're more than up for.

    “I know I say this every time, but I'm genuinely blown away on a weekly basis with the work they put in and the dedication they show. It's a real honour to be able to work with a group like this. With around seven training sessions between now and when we leave, we have a lot of work to do; but as a management team, we couldn't be more excited for the task ahead.”

    ENDS

    The final 12 players selected are:

    Abigail Rafferty, St Patrick's Academy, Dungannon, Tyrone Towers

    Ciara Byrne, Scoil Chriost Ri, Portlaoise, Portlaoise Panthers

    Erin Maguire, Ulidia Integrated College, Carrickfergus, Ulster University Elks

    Fatimah Akorede, Coláiste Chiarain, Leixlip, Liffey Celtics BC

    Gillian Wheeler, Cross & Passion College, Kilcullen, Portlaoise Panthers

    Hazel Finn, St. Louis, Kiltimagh, Maree BC

    Kate Hickey, Mercy, Waterford, Waterford Wildcats

    Lisa Blaney, Jesus & Mary Salerno, Salthill, Maree BC

    Sabhbh Edwards Murphy, Kilrush Community School, Limerick Celtics

    Shauna Dooley, Scoil Chriost Ri Portlaoise, Portlaoise Panthers

    Sinead Boyle, Manor House, Raheny, Killester BC

    Síofra O’Shea, Coláiste na Sceilge, Cahersiveen, Cahersiveen BC

  • A late fourth quarter comeback by the Ireland Under 18 women’s team was just not enough for the squad to maintain their Division A status this afternoon, as they lost out 63-71 to Bosnia and Herzegovina at the FIBA Under 18 European Championship Division A.

    Coming into today’s game off the back of a massive win against Sweden yesterday, Ireland knew that it was going to be a tough challenge with a long and physical Bosnia side waiting in the wings. A superb closing ten minutes from the girls in green just couldn’t get them over the line as time was against them, and the buzzer sounded to end Ireland’s journey in Division A. 

    A massive opening quarter from the Irish saw huge scores from Dayna Finn, Enya Maguire and Ella McCloskey, before Katie Williamson edged Ireland ahead with a well-taken jump shot. A huge score from Maeve Ó Séaghdha tied the game up at the end of the quarter, 20-20.

    A fast-paced and intense second quarter followed, with Finn and Ó Séaghdha once more on target from distance, while big defence from Annaliese Murphy and Niamh Masterson – the latter also netting a superb three pointer - kept the Bosnia threat in check. Huge scoring from Bosnia’s Ksenija Mitric and Andeli Gligic though edged them ahead at the half time buzzer to lead 35-43.

    The third quarter is where things started to unravel for the Irish, as Bosnia started the period in blistering fashion, opening up a 35-50 point lead within the opening minutes. Every shot they took dropped for them, while Ireland struggled to get a score to fall, and the tough press forced them into turnovers and mistakes, to see Bosnia outscore them 4-17 in the ten minute period, to lead 39-60 going into the last.

    There was a mountain to climb going into the fourth quarter, and this was where Ireland truly showed their grit. Led on the comeback by a determined Bronagh Power Cassidy, Ireland slowly began to chip away at the margin. Huge shooting from Enya Maguire began to close the gap, as McCloskey, Maeve Phelan and Nicole Clancy all worked tirelessly on defence. Back to within eight points with just over a minute to play, Ireland certainly had the belief they could finish it through, and a massive three-pointer from Maguire with just 58 seconds to play suddenly made it a five-point game.

    Foul trouble for the Irish sent Bosnia to the free-throw line in the closing stages though, and unfortunately, time just run out and on a thrilling closing quarter and Ireland’s hopes of Division A basketball, as Bosnia and Herzegovina held on to win 63-71 in the end.

    Speaking afterwards, head coach Patrick O’Neill stated: "I’m so proud of how the girls performed today. Apart from a bad third quarter, we played some of the best basketball of the tournament. The team has been phenomenal and the support has been second to none. These girls have proved that we, as a nation, can compete at this level. So watch out Europe, Ireland is coming."

    IRELAND UNDER 18 WOMEN: Eve Nealon, Dayna Finn (13), Nicole Clancy (4), Enya Maguire (14), Annaliese Murphy (3), Maeve Phelan, Lynn Tunnah, Maeve Ó Séaghdha (7), Niamh Masterson (5), Bronagh Power Cassidy (10), Ella McCloskey (3), Katie Williamson (4).

     

  • Ireland U20 women’s head coach Martin Conroy has announced his final roster of 12 players who will continue on to represent Ireland at this year’s FIBA U20 Women’s European Championship Division B in Kosovo.

    Speaking about the announcement, he stated: "Making this selection was one of the toughest decisions I've had to make as a basketball coach. We started with an extremely talented panel and they made it really difficult for the coaches to select the final 12. This team brings everything that we need to go out and win games in Kosovo this coming summer - and we are excited!"The squad will tip off their European campaign from August 3-11th in Kosovo.

    You can view the official event website here: http://www.fiba.basketball/europe/u20bwomen/2019

    The selected players are:

    Alison Blaney, Trinity College Dublin, Maree BC

    Amy Dooley, Hobart & William Smith Colleges (USA)

    Amy Murphy, Cork College of Commerce, Brunell BC

    Annaliese Murphy, University College Cork, Ambassador UCC Glanmire

    Claire Melia, TU Dublin Blanchardstown, Portlaoise Panthers

    Dayna Finn, NUIG, Maree BC (Mayo)

    Enya Maguire, Ulidia Integrated College, Ulster University Elks

    Louise Scannell, Ambassador UCC Glanmire

    Maeve Phelan, Dublin City University, Pyrobel Killester

    Maggie Byrne, NUIG, Maree BC (Mayo)

    Rachel Huijsdens, Trinity College Dublin, DCU Mercy

    Sorcha Tiernan, Trinity College Dublin, Courtyard Liffey Celtics

     

  • Head coach of NUIG Mystics, Mike Murray, has this week been appointed to the backroom team of Pete Strickland’s Ireland Senior men’s team.

    Murray – who is originally from Mayo but now lives in Galway - has been appointed as team manager for the squad, who are currently preparing for the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries, which will take place in San Marino this June.

    Speaking about the news, Mike said: “It’s a real honour to be appointed as team manager for the Ireland Senior men’s team and I’m really looking forward to working with Pete, Ioannis [Liapakis] and the rest of the team in the coming months. Preparing for European Championships is very exciting and I’m extremely honoured to be part of it all.”

    Coach Strickland added: “We are ecstatic to have Mike join us as our team manager for this championship season. Mike has been dedicated and devoted to the game of basketball as a stalwart player, a successful coach and a caring administrator. I’ve no doubt that his involvement with our senior men’s squad will enhance all that we do.”

  • There was big news out of the west today as it was announced that Basketball Ireland and NUI Galway Development Officer, Mike Murray, has officially been appointed as the Director of Basketball at the university.

    Mike’s new role will see him continue with his Development Officer duties for Basketball Ireland, as well as undertaking key duties in his new role to include, but not exclusive to:

    • The development and implementation of a high performance basketball programme for men and women, with an aim to play Super league in conjunction with the High Performance Lead.
    • The management of the NUIG basketball scholarship programme.
    • The delivery of programmes in second level education to attach players to the university and identify potential scholars.
    • The development and implementation of participation programmes in conjunction with the Participation Officer to increase the level of student participation in basketball on the campus and within the colleges.
    • The growth of the numbers within basketball clubs and the monitoring of their process and procedures.
    • The supervision of the appointment to and performance of coaching teams.

    Speaking about the appointment, Mike, who is originally from Mayo but is now living in Galway, stated: “I am honoured and excited to be appointed to the role of Director of Basketball at NUI Galway. The development of basketball is a priority for NUI Galway’s Sport Department and this position will enable me to implement the strategies and procedures in place to achieve this.”


    Director of Sport and Physical Activity at NUI Galway, Mike Heskin, welcomed the appointment stating: “This is the logical progression in our partnership with Basketball Ireland. It is our intention to build a basketball programme at NUI Galway which will increase the participation of our 18,000 students in the sport while delivering a pathway for the top players to push for international honours.”

    Also speaking about the news, Secretary General of Basketball Ireland, Bernard O’Byrne said: “We are delighted to see Mike appointed to this exciting role with NUIG. This is a milestone appointment in our relationship with universities and third level colleges around the country. We believe that other bodies may well follow the innovative thinking by NUIG in appointing a Director of Basketball.”

     

  • Under 19 Boys C Basketball League Final
    St Brendan's College Belmullet 39-30 O'Carolan College Nobber

    St Brendan’s College in Mayo drove home to All Ireland U19 C Boys Schools League final glory this afternoon with a 38-30 point win over O’Carolan College of Nobber, Co. Meath.

    Standout performances from MVP Sean Lavelle, Dara Lennon and Evan Ivers of St Brendan’s helped them into a 34-21 point lead going into the last quarter, and it was thanks to this cushion that they were able to hold off a superb O’Carolan College comeback down the stretch to win.

    St Brendan’s had the better of the opening exchanges, with Sean Lavelle and Dara Lennon dominating on both ends of the court and reaping the rewards on the offensive end with some great scores. Adam O’Neill, Niall Bennett and Killian Price were on target for O’Carolan, but it was the Mayo team who held the lead 11-6 at the end of the first.

    An evenly-matched second quarter followed with the sides matching each other well at both ends, but St Brendan’s began to find their three point range, with Dylan Walker and Lavelle both hitting two well-taken three pointers to keep the Mayo team out in front. Good work from O’Carolan’s Laochra O Fionnagáin, O’Neill and Price though kept them in the mix, but the half time score was in favour of St Brendan’s, who held the lead 21-14.

    The third quarter was where St Brendan’s began to stamp some authority on the game. Good scores from Evan Ivers, Eoin McDonnell and Aran Reilly saw them widen the margin. Despite a huge third quarter display from Adam O’Neill – who scored all of his side’s seven points in the quarter – Ivers was on hand to deliver a dagger three, and two further points from Walker saw St Brendan’s into a 34-21 point lead going into the last.

    The fourth quarter was all O’Carolan College’s though, with super performances from Adam O’Neill, Killian Markey and Daniel Murphy in particular. O’Neill bagged two huge three pointers and super defense from the Meath men saw it - with just over two minutes to play – back to a six point game.  St Brendan’s rallied well though and two vital scores from Shane Togher and Eoin McDonnell was enough for see them home to a 38-30 point win in the end.

    ST BRENDAN’S COLLEGE (MAYO): Ronan Barrett, Leo Howard, Evan Ivers (14), Sean Lavelle (9), Dara Lennon, Eoin McDonnell (4), Padraig Monaghan, Peter Walsh, Aran Reilly (2), Shane Togher (2), Dylan Walker (5), Robert Barrett

    O’CAROLAN COLLEGE (MEATH): Adam O’Neill (15), Daniel Murphy (2), Brian Reilly, Killian Price (6), Jonathan Reilly, Killian Markey (1), Philip McGovern, Ronan Byrne, Laochra O’Fionnagáin (5), Niall Bennett (2), Conor Owens, Eerik Piho, Ciarmhac O’Fionnagain, Diego DiFolco, Darragh Sheridan.

    MVP: Sean Lavelle (St Brendan’s College

  • Subway U19C Basketball Final 
    Waterpark College 67-55 St Brendan's College Belmullet

    A late comeback from St Brendan’s Belmullet just wasn’t enough in the Subway Schools U19C Boys Cup final this afternoon, as they lost out 55-67 to Waterpark College of Waterford. 

    The Mayo side certainly made it a nervy finish for all involved, bringing the game back to within three points with just four minutes to play but in the end, MVP Mikolaj Sienicki and a superb display from Colm O’Reilly edged Waterpark back in front and they held on to see home a memorable win for the team.

    A hotly contested first quarter saw just one basket between the sides at the buzzer, as Evan Ivers, Dylan Walker and Luke O’Reilly dominated for St Brendan’s but were matched score-for-score by Waterpark’s Mikolaj Sienicki and Colm O’Reilly to see the Waterford side lead by two, 15-17. 

    Waterpark hit their rhythm in the second quarter though, and big scores from Sienicki and O’Reilly saw them stretch into a nine point lead by the midway mark. Belmullet were not lying down though, and Sean Lavelle, Evan Ivers and Eoin McDonnell stepped up to the mark in style to close the gap back down, but a dagger three from Sienicki closed the quarter and edged Waterpark into a 26-34 point half-time lead. 

    The third quarter was just as fast-paced, with St Brendan’s out of the blocks extremely fast, with scores raining in from Ivers, who slotted home seven points back-to-back. Two more baskets from Lavelle kept the Mayo team right in the mix, but again, it was Sienick and Colm O’Reilly who kept Waterpark’s noses in front, while James Delahunty began to dominate under the boards getting some huge stops on St Brendan’s to deny them further scores to see the Waterford school into a 43-52 point lead going into the last.   

    The fourth quarter was heart stopping stuff though, as St Brendan’s again came out all guns blazing, and with just over four minutes to go, scores from Aran Reilly, Lavelle and Ivers had the game back to a three-point game, 55-58. A timely time out for Waterpark followed, and it was Waterpark’s Sean Ryan that settled his side down once more with a well-taken score which was followed by a super score from Mark Phelan and they were back in the driving seat once more and drove home to a 55-67 point win in the end. 

     

    ST BRENDAN’S BELMULLET (MAYO): Luke O’Reilly (5), Shane Togher, Dylan Walker (3), Eoin McDonnell (4), Aran Reilly (5), Ronan Barrett, Sean Lavelle (12), Evan Ivers (26), Padraig Monaghan, Leo Howard, Dara Lennon, Robert Barrett. 

    WATERPARK COLLEGE (WATERFORD): Sebastian Fialkiewicz, Sam O’Mahony, Daniel Johnson, Evan Gloeckner, Andrew Greene, Sean Ryan (4), Farouq Rabiu (2), Mark Phelan (8), Colm O’Reilly (20), Mikolaj Sienicki (29), Alex Power, Niall Purcell, Mícheál O’Sullivan, James Delahunty (4), Sam Mathe.

    MVP: Mikolaj Sienicki (Waterpark College)

     

  • St Joseph's secondary school Castlebar narrowly lost out to St Louis of Carrickmacross this afternoon in the U19 C girls schools league final at the National Basketball Arena.

    The Monaghan side overcame the Castlebar girls by 30 points to 25.

     

  • St. Joseph's Secondary School Castlebar are involved in an All-Ireland U19 C Girls final this afternoon.

    The Castlebar girls take on St. Louis Carrickmacross of Monaghan with tip-off at 2.30pm.

  • St. Mary’s Secondary School Ballina narrowly lost out to Scoil Ruain, Killenaule in the All-Ireland U16 B Girls Basketball final yesterday.

    The Ballina girls were defeated 39-35.

    Tomorrow St. Brendan’s, Belmullet will take on Waterpark College in the U19 C Boys Final.

    Tip-off is at 2.45pm.

  • It was a tough opening game for the Ireland Under 18 women’s team this evening as they lost out to Poland 44-64 in their first group game of the FIBA Under 18 Women’s European Championship Division A.

    A longer and more physical Polish side took the reins of the game early on, and in the blistering hot conditions, the Irish were slow to settle, ending a tough first quarter with just six points on the board to Poland’s 19.
    A much improved second quarter followed as the Irish began to find their rhythm with Dayna Finn, Maeve Ó Séaghdha and Katie Williamson all finishing off well-worked scores for the Irish. At the other end, some fantastic defence from the girls in green helped to keep the threat of Poland’s Natalia Klimek in check, but the Polish still led the way at half time, 17-28.

    A big push in the third helped Williamson and Bronagh Power-Cassidy find their way through the Polish defence, but Poland began to punish Ireland under the boards, picking up some big offensive rebounds, with Martyna Leszczynska increasing her personal tally to 10 points to edge them ahead 29-43 going into the last.

    Ireland continued to hold their own in the fourth, and showed exactly what they are made of with big scores from Dayna Finn, Power-Cassidy and Williamson. However, despite getting the lead back to nine points, Poland’s size and physicality helped to see them home in the end, as they held on down the stretch to run out 20-point winners.

    Speaking afterwards, Ireland Under 18 head coach Patrick O’Neill stated: “We had a tough second half, we were down 11 at half time after doing a lot of things right defensively, we outrebounded them in the first half – in fact in the entire game – but we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds in that third quarter and that hurt us. There are a lot of positives though, we did a great job defensively, and while we lapsed a bit in the third, there’s a lot of positives to take from it ahead of Russia tomorrow."

    Ireland take on Russia tomorrow in their second game of the group stages.

     IRELAND: Annaliese Murphy (3), Bronagh Power Cassidy (11), Dayna Finn (9), Enya Maguire, Ella McCloskey (4), Eve Nealon, Katie Williamson (8), Lynn Tunnah, Maeve Ó Séaghdha (5), Maeve Phelan, Niamh Masterson, Nicole Clancy (4).

     

  • Lausanne, a small town nestled in the heart of the Switzerland countryside, may not be a name you’ve heard of before when it comes to basketball – particularly in terms of Irish basketball, but one man from Mayo is working hard to change that.

    Meet Liam Printer from Westport in Co. Mayo. A teacher at the International School of Lausanne, Liam has worked hard over the last number of years to put basketball front and centre on the school map and what a job he’s done.

    In just a short space of time, the school has gone from having no basketball team whatsoever, to boasting three different squads at different age levels going into the 2018/19 season - as well as a trophy cabinet bursting at the seams with silverware.

    Having previously coached the likes of Aidan O’Shea and the Durkan brothers at St Gerald’s College in Castlebar, Liam moved to Switzerland back in 2013, and hasn’t looked back since.

    “I arrived that September and we had our first trial session and there were only about eight girls there,” he reflected. “We worked hard with the girls, many of them new to the sport, and we decided to enter the European Schools Conference (ESC) in March of that first year. It was in Milan, and believe it or not, we ended up winning the entire tournament! We couldn’t believe it. We somehow got through an overtime game, and went on to win it out. The school was so delighted! The Principal couldn’t believe it either.

    “The next year (last year), we built on that and we had some great girls on the squad and a good few coming through as well, so that’s when we introduced a second team to the school – an under 13 team.

    “Last year, we went to the ESC again, in Geneva this time, and we won it yet again! Back-to-back champions! It was incredible. We had gone from having no basketball team at all, to suddenly getting this team together and winning back-to-back European titles.”

    While this year has been a regrouping year, with many of the squad’s players having graduated at the end of last season, Coach Printer has still enjoyed remarkable success and is looking forward to next year even more

    “This year was about regrouping, but we did win that SGIS A Category Tournament in November though for the first time in the school’s history. That was a pretty special day as Jerry – the other coach - was away so my brother, Anthony, came over and was my Assistant Coach for the day - the same brother who got me into basketball out on our driveway in Westport with a rusty old hoop nailed to a tree.

    “It is all a bit surreal to be honest. We’ve gone from not existing to double European Schools champions and two League titles in the space of three years which is pretty extraordinary,” he reflected. "Now we will have three squads next year at three age groups, which is fantastic.

    “There’s also another Irish coach here in Lausanne as well, which is really crazy. Elaine – the other coach – is bizarrely, actually from Mayo too, - Ballaghaderreen in fact - so that was really funny the first time we coached against each other and we went up to introduce ourselves only to find out we are from the same county. Two Mayo coaches in the same part of Switzerland, now that’s pretty cool.”