BASKETBALL: FIBA women’s  Eurobasket Qualifier

by Aaron Dunne
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Ireland head coach James Weldon has included three uncapped players in his 12-person squad for the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2025 Qualifier with Israel on February 8.

17-year-old Grace Prenter of Trinity Meteors, Ulster University’s Alex Mulligan and The Address UCC Glanmire’s Amy Dooley are all in line for their first caps.

Head coach James Weldon said: “The three players drafted in have all been in excellent form for their clubs. Grace Prenter has come through the Irish underage set-up and really stepped up at MissQuote.ie Super League level this season. Alex Mulligan and Amy Dooley have naturally been on my radar for a long time, they’ve been performing consistently for their clubs over the last number of years and all three new players deserve their call-ups.”

Ireland are without captain Edel Thornton, she picked up an ACL injury playing for club side Gurranabraher Credit Union Brunell eight days ago.

Weldon added: “It’s obviously a blow to be missing Edel and other players, due to a variety of reasons. Our players are not all full-time pros and have to juggle work, study, sporting and personal commitments, among other things. However, we are building squad depth, we had four players make their FIBA Women’s EuroBasket bow against France in Novemnber- Annaliese Murphy, Lauryn Homan, Kate Hickey and Kara McCleane – and now we have three more players in line for their international debuts in this game. It will increase the pool of talent that we have at our disposal over the rest of the qualifying campaign, which is a huge positive.”

Speaking about the decision to play Israel, Basketball Ireland CEO, John Feehan, stated: “The game has received a high degree of publicity due to the opposition we face on Thursday and the strength of feeling around the fixture. As we have previously stated, we’re all very concerned about events in Gaza and are extremely sympathetic to dreadful situation that people are having to deal with. Basketball Ireland is obliged to play this fixture, because the ramifications of not doing so would be ruinous to the women’s international programme, as boycotting these games with Israel would lead to huge fines from FIBA of up to €180,000, along with an effective 5-year ban for the team. I’d like to praise James Weldon, his staff and the players who’ve had to deal with off-court issues in the lead-up, but remain focused on putting in a performance on Thursday as they target a win.”

Thursday’s contest was originally due to take place in Israel on November 9th, but was postponed due to the conflict in the region and was rescheduled to a neutral venue in Riga, Lativa. The Group E game tips off at 4pm and will be streamed by FIBA here.

A link to Basketball Ireland’s recent statement on the fixture with Israel is available here.

Ireland squad

Amy Dooley (The Address UCC Glanmire), Bridget Herlihy (Ensio Lugo, Spain), Alex Mulligan (Ulster University), Kara McCleane (University of Galway Mystics), Grace Prenter (Trinity Meteors), Kate Hickey (SETU Waterford Wildcats), Sarah Hickey (SETU Waterford Wildcats), Lauryn Homan (Gurranabraher Credit Union Brunell), Abigail Rafferty (Ulster University), Annalise Murphy (The Address UCC Glanmire), Sorcha Tiernan (FloMAX Liffey Celtics), Áine O’Connor (FloMAX Liffey Celtics)

Diary Marker: Virtual media conference at 1400 on Tuesday 2nd February

Video News Release with Ireland head coach interview and training

A Video News Release will be circulated to broadcast media at 1400 on Tuesday 6th February. It will be followed by virtual press conference, via zoom, with Ireland head coach James Weldon and Basketball Ireland CEO John Feehan, which will take place from 1400-1420.

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