International

Jul 05 2024

Preview: FIBA U20 Women's Youth EuroBasket

Ireland have arrived in Sofia, Bulgaria ahead of their FIBA U20 Women’s Youth EuroBasket campaign, which begins against Slovakia at 11:00 tomorrow on the FIBA YouTube Channel and Basketball Ireland website.

Karl Kilbride’s side enter the tie in good form following two close defeats against the 26th ranked side in the world, Greece and a 2-1 record during their appearance in the 2024 Nordic Championship which included a 80-67 success over Iceland and 78-61 win against Denmark, finishing 2-3 overall in their warm-up games against very high level opposition. 


OUR OPPOSITION 

Ireland have been drawn in Group A alongside Slovakia (41st), Switzerland (78th) and the Czech Republic (13th). Ireland are currently ranked 59th following the 2023 competitions.

They will face each other once over three successive days starting on Saturday, July 6th before the top two teams advance to the second group phase. The bottom two teams will go into the 9-15th classification games.

The second group phase will contain the top two teams from Group A,B,C and D split into two further groups, E and F. They will play two games against teams from the opposite group (ie. A1 will play B1 and B2 in Group £).

The top two teams from Group E/F will secure a spot in the semi-finals, with the bottom two entering the 5-8th classification games. 


SQUAD NEWS 

Lucy Coogan and Sarah Hickey return from the squad who finished 8th in this competition a year ago, while two players, Katie O’Sullivan and Lucy Devoy received a call up following an impressive showing as part of Tommy O’Mahony’s U18 squad in 2023. 

Gandy Malou-Mamel and Grace Prenter both have caps alongside Hickey at senior level, while Michelle Ugwah, who has been impressive for Moorehead State University in the United States, is making her first appearance at a FIBA Youth EuroBasket in five years.

Leilani Turner and Orla Dullaghan are making their FIBA Youth EuroBasket debuts, bringing their MissQuote.ie Super League experience to the group. There is further top tier experience in the shape of  Niamh O’Leary and Amy Duggan, while there is also MissQuote.ie Division One representation through Niamh Tolan of McEvoy’s Cavan Eagles – who is definitely a player to keep an eye on in the tournament. 


VIEW FROM THE BENCH

Speaking ahead of the opening game, head coach Karl Kilbride said: “We’re looking now to build on those games and put ourselves in the best possible position going into our first group game on Saturday. We’re in a very difficult group so it’s really important we get a good start against Slovakia and that’s what we intend to do.”

Kilbride is joined on the bench by assistants Niamh Dwyer and Andy McGeever as well as S&C coach Sean Miller, Physio Ciara McCarthy and Team Manager Sarah Malone.  


LAST TIME OUT

Ireland advanced to the quarter-final stages unbeaten from a very strong group in 2023. Wins over Greece, Romania and Georgia set up a meeting with Switzerland in the last eight.

We suffered a 71-58 defeat in that contest against the Swiss, before further losses against Iceland and Norway gave us an 8th place finish.


FIXTURES

Ireland v Slovakia, Saturday, July 6th, 11:00, Sofia (BUL) - WATCH LIVE

Ireland v Switzerland, Sunday, July 7th, 13:30, Sofia (BUL) - WATCH LIVE

Ireland v Czech Republic, Monday, July 8th, 11:00, Sofia (BUL) - WATCH LIVE


Ireland squad:

Amy Duggan (Gurranabraher Credit Union Brunell), Gandy Malou-Mamel (Gill St.Bernard’s, USA), Grace Prenter (Meteors BC), Katie O’Sullivan (FloMAX Liffey Celtics), Leilani Turner (Pyrobel Killester), Lucy Coogan (Caldwell University, USA), Lucy Devoy (Limerick Celtics), Michelle Ugwah (Morehead State University, USA), Niamh O’Leary (Ulster University), Niamh Tolan (McEvoy’s Cavan Eagles), Orla Dullaghan, Sarah Hickey, (SETU Waterford Wildcats)