Ireland warm up for Euro qualifiers

IRELAND’S basketball teams begin the countdown to European Championship action tonight with the first in a series of friendlies.

The men’s squad are in Cork for a four-nation tournament involving England, Denmark and Turkey, opening with an appetising clash against the English at Neptune Stadium tonight.

The senior women’s side hosts Norway for two games at the University of Limerick on September 12 and in the Mercy, Waterford the following night

The Euro campaign for Gerry’s Fitzpatrick’s squad begins with an away trip to Malta on Sep 11 before hosting Switzerland on Sep 15 in the ESB Basketball Arena, Dublin.

This will be the first chance to see the men play at home for over a year, and with two former NBA players in Pat Burke and Marty Conlon involved these games will generate interest among Irish fans.

Ireland will then travel to Bratislava to take on Slovakia on Sept 18.

The senior women also play a series of three Euro qualifiers, two home and one away. They play Sweden away on Sept 18 before returning for their first ever European Championship games on home soil. Their first game is against Estonia in the University of Limerick on Sept 22 and they play Luxembourg in the ESB Arena on Sept 25.

The squad features player of the year, Michelle Aspell, and Susan Moran, formerly of the New York Liberties WNBA side.

Fixtures: International friendlies:

Tonight: Turkey v Denmark, Neptune Stadium, 6.30; Ireland v England, 8.30.

Tomorrow: Ireland v Denmark, Neptune Stadium, 6.30; Turkey v England, 8.30.

Saturday: England v Denmark, 1pm, ESB Arena; Ireland v Turkey, ESB Arena, 4pm.

European Championships: Sept 15: Ireland v Switzerland, ESB Arena, 7.30.

Women’s fixtures:

Sept 12: Ireland v Norway, UL, 3pm; Sept 13 - Ireland V Norway, Mercy Waterford, 7.30.

European Championships: Sept 22:Ireland V Estonia, UL, 7.30pm; Sept 25 - Ireland V Luxembourg. ESB Arena, 7.30.

Ireland men’s squad: Michael Bree (Ulm, Germany), Pat Burke (Real Madrid, Spain), Jon Larranaga (Treviso, Italy), Chris Bracey (Tralee Tigers), Marty Conlon (Murcia, Spain), Jay Larranaga (Sevilla, Spain), Tim Kennedy (Valls, Spain), Billy Collins (Maurienne, France), Jimmy Moran (Auna, Grand Canaria), John O'Connell (New Hampshire Thunderloons, USBL), Dan Callahan (Varese, Italy), Justen Naughton (Gmunden Swans, Austria).

Ireland women’s squad: Michelle Aspell (Univeristy of Limerick), Siobhan Kilkenny (Manhattan, USA), Carmel Kissane (Dart Killester, Dublin), Niamh Dwyer (Monmouth, USA), Eileen Bradley (Meteors, Dublin), Michelle Fahy (Tristorrents, Switzerland), Susan Moran (St Joe's Philadelphia, Asst Coach), Maureen Garvey (Wildcats, Waterford), Suzanne Maguire (Dart Killester, Dublin), Caroline Nixon (Sturt Sabres, Australia), Kate Maher (Wildcats, Waterford).

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