Colin O’Reilly’s Irish stars facing daunting FIBA Europe Cup task in Prague

Hibernia Basketball face the toughest assignment of their FIBA Europe Cup campaign away to Czech giants, CEZ Nymburk, this evening (tip-off 5.30pm Irish time).
Colin O’Reilly’s Irish stars facing daunting FIBA Europe Cup task in Prague

Indeed their Prague-based outfit compete in both European competition and in the top tier of Russian professional basketball, the VTB League.

Such a gulf in class means that Ireland will be massive underdogs, but the visiting players remain undaunted.

“I’m excited,” said Belfast Star’s Keelan Cairns. “What’s the point in this adventure if we’re not going to play the best? We’re confident in ourselves. Obviously we’ve had two tough losses, but the performances have been getting better and the aim is to extend that this week,” he said.

The challenge facing the Irish is an onerous one. Seven of the home squad were at Eurobasket 2015: A quintet of Czech quarter-finalists, Iceland’s starting point guard and Maxine De Zeeuw of Belgium. De Zeeuw is the only link to Irish basketball, having started in an 82-75 defeat to Ireland at the 2004 U20 European Championships.

The Czechs have not been without their problems and injuries played their part in last week’s shock defeat at home to Bakken Bears in Group F.

Colin O’Reilly’s side will be robbed of the chance to play against Jiri Welsch, who was starting point guard for Boston Celtics when they reached the 2004 NBA playoffs.

HIBERNIA BASKETBALL SQUAD vs CEZ Nymburk:

Kyle Hosford (C&S UCC Demons), Roy Downey (C&S UCC Demons), Adrian O’Sullivan (C&S UCC Demons), Patrick Lyons (SSE Airtricity Moycullen), Ciaran O’Sullivan (C&S UCC Demons), Dylan Cunningham (SSE Airtricity Moycullen), Luke Thompson (Eanna), Colin O’Reilly (C&S UCC Demons), Ronan O’Sullivan, (SSE Airtricity Moycullen) Conor Grace (Templeogue), Keelan Cairns (Belfast Star), Lehmon Colbert (C&S UCC Demons).

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