A fifth year student from Coláiste Íosagáin was selected to play for the Under 16s Irish Basketball Team last year. Eoin McCann talks about his time on the team, and the experience of representing Ireland at the European Basketball Championships in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I play for Kestrels Basketball Club in Portarlington, and in 2011 my coach Louise Foster sent me to trials in Dublin for an Under 16 Irish Team Programme for boys.
I was selected to be part of the development squad, and after a year of training all over Ireland, the final twelve boys were chosen in October 2012. I was lucky to be one of them.
The team was made up of boys from Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Sligo, Monaghan, and me from Laois. Our coach Paul Kelleher taught me a great deal 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 our 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 August 2013 came, after two years of hard work and training. We were now at the U16 European Championships in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Unfortunately, on the day of our arrival, one of our top scorers Jordan got very sick. He had to go home and wasn’t able to participate in the games. This was a huge blow to our team.
Despite this we 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 my country in Europe.