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Ireland set for European Basketball Championships

Ireland will be at the European Basketball Championships for the first time in seven years
By Tony McGee

It is seven years since an Irish men's team competed in the European Basketball Championships and just two players from the 2009 squad are included in this year's panel, which was announced yesterday by playing coach Colin O'Reilly.

Demons team member O’Reilly played in the side of 2009 and includes himself again, along with Templeogues's Conor Grace, who is one of three players included from the Hula Hoops National Cup champions winning side.

Four of the squad, including O'Reilly, are from Premier League winners UCC Demons and the co-captains are Kyle Hosford and Conor Grace. Cork brothers Adrian and Ciarán O'Sullivan are included.

Belfast Star's towering Keelan Cairns is named in the squad by O'Reilly while former Star player Paul Dick is there, too. Dick, of course, is now trading his talents with Pyrobel Killester, after a successful spell playing in Germany.

Making the big step up from U18 level is Jordan Blount (University of Illinois) who was top scorer at the FIBA U18 European Championship last year.

Making his first appearance in an Irish shirt will be Brian Fitzpatrick, a grandson of Cavan native Edward Fitzpatrick, who was a sergeant in the NYPD. Brian, a 6'8” forward, is a starter with 2016 Danish League champions Horsens IC and played 'ball with US College Bucknell University, a NCAA Division One team.

Ireland have been drawn in Group A (small countries) alongside San Marino, Malta and Gibraltar with five games scheduled between June 28 and July 3.

Ireland Senior Men’s European Championship Squad: Jordan Blount (University of Illinois, Chicago - USA), Keelan Cairns (Belfast Star), Paul Dick (Pyrobel Killester), Brian Fitzpatrick (Horsens IC - DEN), Conor Grace (Templeogue), Kyle Hosford (C&S UCC Demons), Stephen James (Templeogue), Kevin Lacey (GCD Swords Thunder), Lorcan Murphy (Templeogue), Colin O Reilly (C&S UCC Demons), Adrian O’Sullivan (C&S UCC Demons), Ciaran O’Sullivan (C&S UCC Demons). Head Coach: Colin O Reilly, Assistant Coaches: Puff Summers, Joey Boylan, Team Manager: Troy O Mahony, Physiotherapist: Maura Murphy,  Strength & Conditioning Coach: Deirdre Morrison.

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