SIX players from Dublin, will get the chance to don the Irish Basketball singlet for the first time when they head to the 15th FIMBA World Maxibasketball Championships 2019 in Espoo, Finland from July 25.
Glasnevin BC players are to the fore, with Collette Boylan captaining the side, and Regina Birmingham and vice-captain Suzanne Lakes from the club also involved.
Tigers BC’s Siobhain Monerawela; Aer Lingus’s Therese Traynor, and Meteors Eileen Bradley will also represent Dublin on the world stage while Tommy Costello is the side’s assistant coach.
Marla Candon, who is now based in Belgium is a familiar face in Dublin as an ex-UCD basketballer, and also through winning All-Ireland and Leinster Club Ladies football medals with Foxrock-Cabinteely.
It’s the first time an Irish Womens Masters team will take part in an international competition, and it’s exciting times for all involved.
“It’s been a great process so far,” head coach Mike Murray told the Dublin Gazette.
“A lot of the challenge games we’ve had, we have done really well in, and the balance of the team is quite good – we have a lot of guards, forwards and everything is matching up quite well and they are a really good bunch of women.”
The squad is a mix of former internationals, but also players featuring for Ireland for the first time.
“A lot haven’t played for their country before, and for them to put on the green jersey is always a huge proud day for anybody to do at any level no matter what the sport.
“If you are playing for Ireland it’s a huge achievement and these women have actually put a lot of work in.”
Ireland are in the ‘Over 40 Women’s’ category, which comprises of four groups, with three teams in each of the groups, except for Ireland who contest Pool D alongside Mexico, Colombia B and hosts Finland B (Pinja).
“Our team is giving it 100 percent I can assure you,” Murray said.
“This is being taken very seriously. It’s the exact same as if you were going to the Euro’s for the Underage. They have the same attitude and we will do as best as we possibly can.
“It’s an unknown, we don’t know what these teams are like. The tournament is being streamed so we will get video, and check them out, but other than that.
“Our initial first game (against Mexico on Sunday July 28th) will be into the unknown and it will be about learning as we go.”
The Irish Mail on Sunday are among the sponsors, while friends, family and work colleagues of the players have also helped with fundraising, including at the Dublin Gazette where Siobhain Monerawela is a senior account manager.