Head coach Pete Strickland has made two changes to the Ireland senior men’s team ahead of their 2018 FIBA European Championship for Small Countries campaign, which tips off in San Marino next week.
Jason Killeen has had to withdraw from the panel due to an injury sustained at training over the weekend, while his Black Amber Templeogue clubmate, Michael Bonaparte, has also withdrawn from the panel due to work commitments.
Pyrobel Killester’s Eoghain Kiernan and Paddy Lyons of Moycullen have now been called up to the squad to take their place.
The team is in the final preparation stages for the championships in San Marino, which take place from June 26 to July 1.
As part of these preparations, they will play two international friendly games against Luxembourg in Cork this weekend. The two-game friendly series tips off at the Mardyke Arena at 7pm today and 4pm tomorrow.
Looking ahead to the challenge, coach Strickland stated: “Luxembourg is a very tough opponent. We played them last summer, and these games will be an excellent test for us ahead of the Europeans. Their size and skill will be a big challenge for us, and they compare favourably to the quality teams we will face in San Marino.”
When the sides faced off last summer in Luxemburg, the series ended 1-1, with Ireland overcoming a first-game loss to beat the sharp-shooting Luxemburg side 57-74.
Ireland will go into their group in the European championships as the lowest-ranked team, and will face Andorra and Malta in group B of the championships, but the squad’s mixture of youth and experience puts them in good shape ahead of the tournament.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s senior women’s basketballers are preparing for next week’s FIBA Women’s European Championship for small countries in Cork. Speaking ahead of the tournament, team captain Grainne Dwyer said: “We’re delighted that it’s here in Cork, especially after last year’s U18 Europeans in Dublin where we saw how important home support is. It’s great to have it here in Ireland again and the location is ideal.”
The Ireland senior men’s team:
Adrian O’Sullivan (UCC Demons, Cork) Aidan Quinn (Belfast Star) Ciaran Roe (Pyrobel Killester, Dublin) Eoghain Kiernan (Pyrobel Killester, Dublin) Jordan Blount (University of Illinois and Cork) Keelan Cairns (Belfast Star, Belfast) Lorcan Murphy (Black Amber Templeogue, Dublin) Matt Kelly (UCD Marian, Dublin) Patrick Lyons (Moycullen, Galway) Paul Freeman (Moycullen, Galway) Taiwo Badmus (University of Virginia Wise, US and London) Travis Black (Griffith College Swords Thunder, Dublin)
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