Irish U16 Girls Team travels to Barking Abbey as part of preparations for their European Championships
The Ireland U16 Girls team took a two day training trip to Barking Abbey in England during April. Coach Brigid Lalor, Assistant Coach Seamas Donnelly, Physio Karl Fullam and Manager Maeve Cafolla oversaw the trip. Coaches Dommie Mullins and Clare Sheehy were unable to travel for this trip.
The Irish Team joined the English team at Barking Abbey, London one of the designated English basketball regional academies. Talented English basketball players attend school at these regional centres where the focus is to provide a comprehensive basketball education with full on-site support of fitness and conditioning, physiotherapy, dietary and medical experts.
Karen Burton is into her 4th year as the English U16 Girls Head Coach. This has allowed the team develop a characteristic styles and consistency of selection. The English team includes players playing in schools basketball in England, the United States and Continental Europe. Up until recently they were competing in the European A division.
The Irish team and management were impressed with the English team facilities and supportive off -the-court expertise.
Game One v England
Following an afternoon training session, the Irish team played the first of two internationals.
It was a very exciting game with the Irish girls first out of the blocks going into a five point lead in the first five minutes. However, the English fought back and displayed precise 3 point shooting skills which left the Irish down at half time by 8 points. The Irish players started the 3rd quarter with intensive defense closing down the English fast break, converting scores and clawing their way back into the game.
In the final quarter the Irish team came within 6 points of England with 3 minutes to go. But the intensive Irish effort took its toll, and with a degree of fatigue setting in, the English stretched their lead to 12 at the final buzzer. Final Score 64 – 52.
While there was disappointment at the final score, the Irish Coaching Team were very happy with the team performance. Only ten players played – Courtney Ryan, though she travelled with the team, is out injured and won’t be back in action for another couple of weeks and Olivia Dupuy was with her school team representing Ireland in Cyprus at the World School Games.
Game Two v England
The second day the Irish Team had a morning training session followed by their second game against the English in the afternoon.
This game was as intense as the previous game but it was rewarding for the Irish Coaching Team to see that the girls had learnt from the previous game and were better equipped to deal with the taller English squad. Again the fitness and the conditioning of the highly skilled and well coached English Team counted particularly in the last 2 minutes of the game. The Irish Team was 8 points down at this stage but ended up losing on a score of 75 – 57.
We are extremely grateful to England Basketball who generously looked after our food, accommodation and bus travel. The trip was hugely beneficial for both the players and the management team and everyone is looking to working on what was learnt from the games. Our next training session is in St Vincent’s School in Cork on 4/5 May where the Cork families will host players. This will be our last session before we break for the Junior Cert. Further International games will be arranged in July prior to departing for the European Championships in Portugal in August.
Report: Basketball Ireland