Ireland’s Women’s captain Orla O’Reilly has been ruled out of this week’s FIBA European Championships for Small Countries with a broken wrist.
The Cork native will now concentrate on preparing for pre-season with CB Bembibre in Spain’s Liga Feminina while the international squad continues with 11 players at the event in Gibraltar.
O’Reilly was competing with Ireland at the 3x3 Euros in Andorra at the weekend when she fell awkwardly in a pool game against Hungary.
The remaining squad, of Glanmire’s Grainne Dwyer and Claire Rockall, as well as DCU Mercy’s Sarah Woods, managed to qualify for the quarter-finals but ran out of steam against Switzerland.
Ireland head coach Mark Scannell attempted to get a last-minute replacement for O’Reilly. “We’re very disappointed for Orla that she can’t make it,” he said.
“The FIBA deadline has passed for player registration so the reality is we’ll be working with the 11 players booked to travel.
“A lot of work has been going on with the rest of the squad and we’re well covered in the spots. Now it’s just about focusing on doing well on our return to Europe.”
Ireland’s women have participated in the competition on three occasions, finishing as runners-up in 1989, 1991, and 1993. The 2016 campaign begins today against Wales.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s senior men are in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, for their return to the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries. Player-coach Colin O’Reilly believes the 12-man squad will need time to hit their stride.
“We’ve only been meeting once a week in preparation,” said the Cork man.
“We’ll be hoping to grab a win or two in the group stages and peak for the knockout rounds. We’ll have to play our way into the tournament but fellas are excited. I’m the only one in the squad who has played at this level... once they see what it’s all about, the performances will build.”
Fixtures - Today: FIBA Euros for Small Countries (Women): Ireland v Wales, 3pm; FIBA Euros Small Countries (Men): Ireland v Gibraltar, 6.30pm
Tomorrow: Men: Ireland v Malta, 2pm; Women: Ireland v Moldova, 3pm
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