UL to host postponed basketball European Championship in 2021

UL to host postponed basketball European Championship in 2021
Ireland coach Mark Keenan

The men's basketball European Championship for Small Countries, due to take place two months ago in the University of Limerick until the pandemic struck, will now go ahead at the same venue next summer.

The event will begin on June 28th and come to a conclusion on July 3rd. The board of FIBA Europe has also confirmed the dates for the rescheduled women's equivalent which will begin in Cyprus on June 15th of 2021.

Ireland will compete in both at U16, U18, U20 and Small Countries levels. The announcement follows the news that the sport in Ireland will return to pre-season training on July 20th, subject to review and in accordance with any government guidance between now and then.

“We were all a bit disappointed that things were cancelled this year but, with Covid-19, it was out of our hands,” said Ireland men's coach Mark Keenan. “The extra year gives us all a bit of extra time to prepare and probably will help the younger players develop a bit more over the next 12 months so we are excited that things will go ahead in 2021.

“We won’t be getting the squad together during the domestic league and there’s some good news there in terms of getting back to play a little bit earlier than anticipated with the way things are going with the country. We are excited to get back on the court and having that extra year to prepare for 2021 will hopefully give us a good platform.”

James Weldon, coach of the Ireland women's senior side, is hoping to hold a mini-camp with his players over Christmas, after which the squad will be narrowed down in time for their Championships in Cyprus.

“Under the current guidelines from Basketball Ireland and the HSE, our strength and conditioning coach has been working with the squad remotely,” he said. “Everybody in basketball was excited with last week's news of Basketball's planned return to play pathway.”

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