Feb 22 2024

All you need to know: Ireland v Kosovo

 Ireland begin our first FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifying campaign with an away trip to Kosovo. The Group A fixture takes place on Thursday at 18:00, with live coverage on the TG4 Player and TG4 App, as well as the FIBA YouTube Channel.


Ireland have been drawn in Group A alongside Kosovo, Switzerland and Azerbaijan. Group games will take place across three windows, this week, November 2024 and February 2025. Our next game will be at home against Switzerland on Sunday, February 25th at 15:00. You can get tickets for that game here.

Mark Keenan’s side come into the contest as the 85th ranked side in the world, Kosovo are 77th, Azerbaijan 118th and Switzerland 63rd. Ireland’s last international fixture was a FIBA EuroBasket 2025 Pre-Qualifier against Luxembourg, ending in a 79-76 victory at the National Basketball Arena.

The three group winners along with the best second-placed team will advance to the second qualifying round of the 2027 FIBA ​​World Cup, which will be played in the summer of 2025. 

Speaking shortly after arriving in Prishtina, head coach Mark Keenan said: “It’s exciting. We’re in the competition and looking forward to getting it under way. We know Kosovo had a very good campaign in the summer in EuroBasket qualifiers. They had good wins over Switzerland and a close game with Denmark. “We have to play at our top level, there’s no question about that. Things have to go right for us and we need big performances from our experienced guys. I’m sure we’ll get a spark of energy from some of the new blood as well.


The game will be broadcast live on the TG4 Player here or the TG4 App, with tip-off at 1800.


Get tickets for our next home game on Sunday against Switzerland here


Ireland will be without players based in the college system USA, ruling out CJ Fulton, Aidan Harris-Igiehon, Neil Quinn and Sam Alajiki from the squad that defeated Luxembourg home and away. Rapolas Buivydas, James Beckkom and David Lehane are in line for their first senior caps after receiving call-ups, while Neil Randolph returns to the fold for the first time since the opening FIBA EuroBasket 2025 Pre-Qualifying window.


Kosovo played four FIBA EuroBasket 2025 qualifiers in 2023, beating Switzerland 76-49 in their opening game, before three successive defeats to Denmark and Swizterland respectively.

Dardan Berisha figures to play a central role for Kosovo. The 6’3” shooting guard is a veteran at the age of 35, but is still very capable of deciding the outcome out a game if given the opportunity.


Adrian O’Sullivan (Ballincollig), Lorcan Murphy (Templeogue), James Beckom (UCC Demons), Neil Randolph (Templeogue), Sean Flood (Den Helder, Netherlands), Conor Quinn (Belfast Star), Jordan Blount (Energywise Ireland Neptune), Rapolas Buivydas (Garvey’s Tralee Warriors), James Gormley (Griffith College Éanna), David Lehane (UCC Demons), Taiwo Badmus (Valur, Iceland), Matt Treacy (Wallabies, Switzerland)


Keelan Cairns (Ballincollig), James Connaire (Moycullen), Paul Dick (Killester), James Hannigan (UCC Demons), Conor O’Sullivan (Energywise Ireland Neptune) Aidan Quinn (Belfast Star).