Eoin McCann On His Trip to Sarajevo with Irish Basketball Team

This is an article from Eoin McCann (Fifth Year student) about his time on the Irish Basketball Team last year.

In 2011 my Club (Kestrels) Basketball Coach, Louise Foster, sent me to trials in Dublin for an Irish Team Programme for boys born in 1997. I was selected to be part of the development squad and after a year of training all over Ireland, the final 12 boys were chosen in October 2012 and I was lucky to be one of them.

The team of 12 was made up of boys from Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Sligo, Monaghan and me from Laois! Our coach was Paul Kelleher, a man from whom I learned a great deal from during my two years on the programme.

We practised and trained all over Ireland at weekends and during school breaks. We played many U18 and U20 teams to help us on the journey to the European Championships. We also played friendly internationals at home against Wales and Scotland and we travelled to Denmark, Luxembourg ,England and Portugal.

We ran many fundraisers over the two years to fund our trip to the European Championships. We had last man standing competitions, supermarket bag packing, pitch and putt golf classics and our coach, Paul Kelleher ran the Cork Marathon in June 2013 for sponsorship too.

And so it came, after two years of hard work, travelling, training and build up………August 2013…….. The U16 European Championships in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Unfortunately, on the day of our arrival in Sarajevo, one of our guys and one of our top scorers, Jordan, was very sick. He had to go home and wasn’t able to participate in the games. Thankfully, since then he has made a full recovery. This was a huge blow to our team. However, we did put in some very good performances throughout the group stages. We played against Slovenia, England, Romania, Switzerland, Norway, Bulgaria and Slovak Republic.

It’s been a wonderfully rewarding experience playing for Ireland and representing our country in Europe.

Eoin McCann

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