Maeve Phelan in action for Portlaoise Panthers.
It has been a wonderful 2017 on the basketball court for Maeve Phelan, as she starred for Ireland and Portlaoise Panthers in a historic year for both, while also picking up a slew of medals with Scoil Chríost Rí. She will be balancing her basketball commitments with the Leaving Cert in 2018.
What was your personal highlight of 2017?
- Definitely becoming a European silver medalist. I think it will always be a highlight for me and there’s no better feeling than collectively achieving the goal you set as a team. It was surreal and the support we received was unforgettable and made the experience so special.
Did you achieve all you wanted to achieve in 2017?
- Obviously, we would have loved to have beaten Germany in the European Championship final but we had achieved and gone beyond our goal and received promotion to the 'A' Division, so we were still immensely proud of ourselves and each other. Also, the Panthers placed 5th on the Super League table which was a huge achievement in only our second year in the league.
Who was the toughest opponent you faced in 2017?
A talented german post-player named Nayara Sabally.
What was the best sporting event you attended in 2017?
- The Europeans held on home ground in the National Arena in Tallaght 2017, was by far the greatest sporting event I have ever been to and taken part in. It was an opportunity to showcase Irish women's U-18 basketball and bring European talent to Dublin. The support that we received was unbelievable and many of my teammates commented on the huge numbers who traveled from the midlands to support my teammate Claire Melia and myself. A personal highlight of mine was that my lovely granny, Sadie Fitzpatrick, attended each and every match and thoroughly enjoyed the experience and excitement it brought with it.
What sporting event do you wish you could have attended in 2017?
- I would've loved to have made it to the 2017 All -Ireland Hurling Final. Like basketball, hurling is such a fast paced game and the atmosphere would've been unreal.
Who played the biggest role in helping you to be successful in 2017?
- As always, Pat Critchley has been hugely influential in all my successes and has coached me to be the player I am today. I've been very fortunate to have had Pat coaching me since 1st year in Scoil Chriost Rí and for Pat to be able to attend the Euros in August was a great bonus.
Tommy O' Mahoney, the U-18 National coach, and the rest of the coaching staff helped me develop my game in order to be successful with the national team and for this I'm very grateful.
Non-Sporting highlight of the year?
- Having the honour of being chosen as head girl for my school, Scoil Chríost Rí and as part of the Meitheal team who help all the first years.
What are your goals/ambitions for 2018?
- To complete my Leaving Certificate, to maintain Super League status with the Panthers senior women's team, and to be selected on the Irish women's U-18 basketball team that will travel to northern Italy in August 2018.
What is you biggest fear for 2018?
- The Leaving Cert!
Aside from you/your team, who would you like to see be successful in 2018?
- My good friend, Amy Walsh, who is a determined and talented athletics fanatic who I know will continue to be successful in 2018.
What sporting event would you most like to attend in 2018?
- Women's senior Europeans which is being held in Tallaght in 2018.
Who would you say is 'One to Watch' in 2018?
- Gillian Keenan, an amazing soccer player who has represented Ireland on numerous occasions.
All-Ireland Football and Hurling
- Would love to see Mayo come out on top for once but my money is on the Dubs for the football. And I'd say Galway could do it again too in the hurling!
Laois Senior Football and Hurling
- Portlaoise Senior Men for both! Hon the town
Laois Ladies Football and Camogie
- I think Portlaoise aren't too far off a senior title so hopefully 2018 is their year, and Camross to retain their camogie title.
6 Nations and European Champions Cup
Ireland and Leinster.