Dublin ready for Master Class

by Stephen Findlater

 sport@dublingazette.com

THE SEVENTH Dublin Masters International Basketball Tournament takes place this weekend from May 24 to 26 with 40 teams competing in four age categories.

This year’s main tournament sponsors are SDCC (Dublins Outdoors), Failte Ireland and ‘Wines by Lily’.

With over 300 people travelling to Dublin for the tournament it is an event which is growing year on year and has become an important weekend in the Irish Basketball Calendar.

Twelve teams will compete in the Over 40 men’s with leading contenders likely to be Joe’s Boys – a team of ex professional BBL players in England –and twice winners St Declan’s who are bolstered by former Irish Super League stars Ricardo Leonard and Gabe Jackson.

Team BNAF have a few Americans and top Irish players on board plus St Vincent’s Dublin will also be challenging for top honours. Another team to watch from Croatia is Adriatic Split.

In the Over 40 Ladies, Wild Rovers have dominated this competition in recent years and will be going for their sixth title in a row.

Led by Catriona White and with a team of many ex Super League stars, this team would still be strong contenders in the current National and Super Leagues.

Last year’s finalists, Mustangs, with the incredibly talented Siobhan Kilkenny leading the way, will be hoping to go one better while local team Oblates always put up a great show and have been unlucky in recent years not to win the title.

From abroad, there is a new team from Malta as well as from the UK: Sheffield Pick n Mix and Team Fusion.

In the Over 50 Men’s, DM Ballers will hope to retain their title but will have very stiff competition from a super Lithuanian team containing many Olympic medallists from the 90’s and will be the team to beat.

A new category added this year is the Men’s Over 60s with three teams competing, Irish side Shannon Dodgers, from Scotland Strathclyde Sixers and from USA the aptly named Still Here.

72 games will take place from Friday to Sunday in four venues – Oblate Hall and Inchicore Sports Centre, National Basketball Arena and Colaiste Bride Clondalkin. Entry is free to all games and the main finals are on Sunday from 1pm-5pm in the Oblate Hall Inchicore.

This year’s nominated charity is Hugh’s House (www.hughshouse.ie) and there will be a great raffle with first prize of an overnight stay in Ashford Castle and other activities at the Tournament Party in the Louis Fitz hotel on Saturday night.

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