Former Portlaoise Panthers player Claire Melia in action at the Women's U-20 European Championships
Claire Melia is a basketball player who has come through the ranks at her former club Portlaoise Panthers and at the secondary school Ardscoil Rath Iomghain, Rathangan, where her progression at that level has seen her catapult onto the international stage.
Melia is based stateside, as she was snapped up by St Joseph's University in Philadelphia, where she mixes her studies with her basketball.
Melia was joined by fellow former Portlaoise Panthers players Amy Dooley and Maeve Phelan in achieving selection for the Ireland U-20 squad earlier this summer, and they been thriving in the set-up ever since on an extremely talented Irish outfit.
Melia's display in the opening round of the U-20 European Championships against Ukraine was one of the stand-out performances alongside Mayo woman Dayna Finn.
Melia put on a masterclass in the first quarter in particular, and she ended up contributing a splendid sixteen points, twelve rebounds and three assists on her way to helping send Ireland past Ukraine.
Melia was to the fore on the scoring front once more in the second group game against neighbours Great Britain, as she notched a double double of points and eleven rebounds. Ireland won out 72-58 in the end to progress through to the next round unbeaten.
However, Ireland came unstuck against a pacey and clinical Israel outfit. Melia led the charge for the Irish with another solid display though, finishing out with a double double of nineteen points and twelve rebounds.
Despite the loss, the Ireland U-20 team stormed through to the semi-finals thanks to a thrilling 66-53 point win over Croatia. Melia notched a double double of ten points and twelve rebounds.
After Melia's consistently excellent displays so far, which sees her currently lead tournament stats for efficiency and double doubles, she is now in contention for the MVP (Most Valuable Player) award.
To vote for Melia, click on the link below, scroll down the page and click on Claire Melia's profile.
She is currently in fourth place out of the eight players in contention. Ireland teammate and Mayo woman Dayna Finn currently leads the way, as she has gathered a quarter of the votes so far.