Ireland U-18 girls’ basketball team gear up for historic Euro effort

Ireland’s Under-18 girls’ basketball squad are aiming to write themselves into the history books tonight as they prepare for the quarter-final of the FIBA European Championship against Israel in Dublin.

The two teams face off before a sell-out crowd at the National Arena in Tallaght at 6.15pm.

Tommy O’Mahony’s players are hoping to go further than any other underage Irish team as they bid to reach the semi-finals tomorrow, from where they would have two opportunities to qualify for Division A – a feat no underage Irish team has ever achieved.

“They [Israel] are really tough,” O’Mahony stated after Ireland topped Pool D unbeaten on Wednesday. “They have a lot of guards and a lot of shooters – they like to shoot the three in transition. We’ll have to work on our defence, big time.”

It’s been an uplifting week for Irish basketball, with huge crowds attending the games this week and the hosts currently lead the tournament statistics for assists.

“We always talk about sharing the ball and taking the right option and when other teams are scouting us, there’s no one player who dominates the scoring,” O’Mahony added.

All of the tournament quarter-finals will take place this evening at the Arena, with the remaining classification games (9th-23rd place) tipping off at the National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown.

Results to date: Ireland 89 Macedonia 43, Slovak Republic 46 Ireland 84, Ireland 116 Moldova 25, Britain 49 Ireland 63, Ukraine 57 Ireland 77.

Quarter-finals: Poland v Belarus, 1.45pm; Germany v Portugal, 4pm; Ireland v Israel, 6.15pm; Romania v Britain, 8.30pm.

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