Busy month ahead for Laois teen selected on Irish Wheelchair Basketball teams

Greg Mulhall

Reporter:

Greg Mulhall

Email:

greg.mulhall@leinsterexpress.ie

Busy month ahead for Laois teen selected on Irish Wheelchair Basketball teams

Laois teen Jack Mangan is set for a busy couple of weeks as he has been selected to represent Ireland on the international stage.

Jack, 18, from The Swan, will be touching down in three countries for three separate tournaments all in the space of a month. 

At the end of June he will take off for the European Para Youth Games in Pajulahti, Finland with the Irish U-23 Wheelchair Basketball team. The squad will be staying at the Athletes’ Village, part of the Pajulahti Olympic and Paralympic Training Center.

Ireland will come up against France in their first game, the hosts Finland in their second, before finishing up against Italy and Portugal in their final group games. 

Less than a week later he will link up with the Senior Irish Wheelchair Basketball team for their trip to Barcelona where they will be taking part in the 23rd edition of the City of Barcelona International Wheelchair Basketball Trophy, which is being held at the Espanya Industrial Municipal Sports Centre.

This international event, which has a long tradition in the city, usually features the Catalan national squad competing against other national squads or teams, in order to add a touch of quality to preparations for the Paralympic Games, European championships and regular league competitions.

From there, the Senior team will be on the move again when they travel to Bulgaria for the European games in Sofia. Ireland will compete in the ninth European Championship for Men Division 'C' alongside Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Ireland have been drawn in Group B where they will meet Serbia and Greece in the initial rounds. This European Championship is also a qualification tournament for promotion to Division B. He will be joined on the Senior squad by fellow Laois man Seamus Holland for the upcoming tournaments.

Up until last week Jack played his club basketball with the Kilkenny-based South East Swifts where he received an All-Star as well as claiming the accolade of the national Most Improved Player of the Year for his performances throughout the season as they came third in the Senior Division, but has transferred to the Dublin-based Ballybrack Bulls for next year. 

He was already travelling up and down to Dublin each week for training sessions held in the IWA Sports Centre, Clontarf but will now see a lot more of the capital in the months to come. Last summer he traveled with the Irish Senior squad to Portugal for a friendly, but will get his first taste of competitive action on the international stage later this month.