Dublin collective win Wanze tournament

by Gazette Reporter
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Dublin’s Under-14 boys’ basketball side made a slam dunk in Belgium last weekend with a fantastic win in a special European competition held in Wanze, Belgium.

The squad, mentored by Carmel Kilmartin and Eddie Guilmartin and captained by Tolka’s Conor Liston flew out to Belgium on Wednesday, May 28 for the tournament where 46 teams from Belgium, France, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Slovakia were due to compete in three groups over four days.
Speaking to GazetteSport just days after returning home, Kilmartin was still buzzing over the result.
“I’m still on a high”, she said. “It’s fantastic. Having only come together a couple of months ago, we didn’t start off great, but the squad were brilliant in Belgium.”
Carmel has been bringing teams to the Wanze tournament for 15 years, but this was her first win as a mentor in the competition having seen her sides reach the semi-finals four times and losing two finals in recent times.
This year’s boys team wasted no time in getting settled into the competition with a 24-13 win over Apollo on the opening day, with Clondalkin player Aidan Igiehon, who had a fantastic tournament, being the top point scorer with a total of 13 for the game.
After some first-game nerves, the squad cruised through the rest of their early pool games to advance to the latter stages.
One of those games in the later stages really tested the lads’ mettle, as Carmel explained: “Our game just before the semi-final against Spirou was probably the toughest game we had.
“They are one of the top teams in Belgium, a really top side who had the same balance as us.
“There was a massive crowd as well, which can add to any occasion, but we really stepped up in that one and Aidan even made a dunk in the game which is quite amazing for a 13-year-old.”
To win the competition, the team needed to win eight games out of eight and that they did with a real champion’s performance against Andennes from Belgium, another top side in the competition.
When they had time away from the court, the squad spent time bonding through boat trips and visits to water parks which the coach insists will have contributed to the friendships made between players who would have been opponents a couple of months ago.
“It was nice to [have those bonding experiences] as a lot of the players were big rivals at their opposing clubs.
“The bonding meant that, I think, they will have made friends for life. Some of them should go on to play together for area boards teams and Irish squads, so the whole experience of the tournament was excellent.”
Before this Dublin Under-14s squad breaks away, they will take part in a trip to the Mansion House to meet the Lord Mayor in honour of their win, as well as playing a couple of challenge matches against the likes of Cork in the coming months.

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