A busy summer is ahead with 8 Irish international teams competing in European Competitions. Levels of coverage will differ from competition to competition but we aim to try and help keep you as up to date as possible with all the action across the continent. We recommend you bookmark this page and check in regularly as content will change and update in advance of each team setting off to try and fulfil their European dreams!
The MPL Irish Select team return home from China today after a week that has hopefully began to pave the way for a return to senior international basketball in Ireland. Ireland lost to Italy on day 1 before an inspired 70-69 victory over the Russian squad on day 2. On day 3 they went up against the hosts and by far strongest team in the tournament. It was always going to be an impossible task to get a win versus China but it was an important stepping stone for basketball in this country.
The Irish U18 Women’s team played the highly rated Scotland U18 team over two closely fought contests in Stirling, Scotland, on the 15th and 16th July. Basketball Scotland’s training base at the Peak Sports Centre was the venue for the opening game, which was played in sweltering temperatures with the height and conditioning advantage of the hosts expected to be the difference.
Irish Women in Scotland 2013
The Irish girls raced into a 21-8 lead at the end of the first quarter with co-captains Laura Rodgers and Amy Waters leading by example. Ireland’s switching man and match up defences forced the home team into some rushed offensive options and with the energetic Aoife Brett coolly converting at the other end and Maeve Ryan stellar in defence James Weldon was the happier coach at this stage.
As the second quarter began Scotland, as expected , began to find their feet and shooting range but Ireland , thanks to stellar efforts by Shannon Farrell and Clare Leavey , held firm to lead 33-24 at the half time break.
The second half resumption saw the superior fitness of the home side begin to whittle away at the Irish lead and things looked ominous as the third quarter ended with the lead reduced to 47-40 with rising Braveheart star Sarah Thompson notching her points total to 20 while Irish centre Caro Llyod was inspiring her team as she set about amassing a triple double (11 pts, 16 rebounds and 13 blocked shots) and frustrate the Scottish attempts to score in the paint time and time again.
Scotland relentlessly chipped away at the lead and with two minutes remaining in the final quarter edged ahead for the first time by a single point and Ireland paid the price for missing two gilt-edged opportunities before having to foul to stop the game clock.
Final Score Scotland 62 Ireland 57.
After the disappointment in the opening test, Ireland set out on the road to redemption in the University of Stirling Arena on Tuesday 16th July. Once again, the girls in green were first out of the blocks and Scotland found themselves at the wrong end of the 25-18 score line at the end the opening quarter. Lauren Falvey was inspirational and scored at will while her club team-mate Megan O’Leary shrugged off the effects of an injury picked up in the previous game to pull the string at the point guard position.
Scotland refused to buckle and fought back to trail by one point 39-38. Caro Lloyd proved the bane of many of the offensive attempts by the resurgent hosts and she compiled a double-double (12 points and 13 rebounds).
As expected, Scotland’s conditioning began to be more of a factor as the third quarter drew to a close, which ended leaving Ireland trailing 6 points, 45-53.
As the final minutes of the game ebbed away the Irish, despite their best efforts, were struggling to cut the deficit to a single digit figure. Ireland’s full court press with three minutes remaining inspired an 11-0 run mainly due to the athleticism of Laura Rodgers, the unerring accuracy of Lauren Falvey and a trade mark three pointer from Megan O’Leary. Scotland were unable to reciprocate and victory was snatched by the visiting Irish.
Final Score. Scotland 67 Ireland 68.
Head Coach James Weldon’s comments:
“Overall, I am very happy with how this team has developed over a shot period of time and this is in no small measure due to our exceptional team manager Lorraine Scully, whose super organizational ability and relaxed manner has provide a great environment for us all to reach our goals. The Leaving Cert commitments left the players with a long break, which may have had a negative impact on our sharpness.
The team showed tremendous heart and skill to turn around after the setback in the opening game. We were able to achieve a tremendous win here against an well-coached and professionally prepared Scotland team.
It has been an honour to have had the chance to work with this group of Irish players, who never shirked anything they were asked to do. The support from their parents has been immense, which is why the early victories last April in Denmark did not come as a surprise to those close to the team. Hopefully, this is just the beginning for many of these great players.”
Looking back at my experience as a young player, one of my greatest regrets was never getting a chance to attend a sleep-away camp.
So back in 2007, when I was coaching in Aquinas Grammar School (Belfast), Coach Joe McAufield mentioned in passing that he might be able to get me a gig at Rip ‘n’ Run in Dublin. I practically begged him to get back to Adrian Fulton and let him know I wanted in. It wasn’t long until August rolled around and I learned exactly why Rip ‘n’ Run is arguably Ireland’s number one basketball camp.
Some of the highlights included:
Top quality coaches (Danny Fulton, Damien Kennedy, Kevin Foley, Paul Kelleher, Colin O’Reilly, Mairead McNally, Jessica Scannell… to name a few… and this list doesn’t even include the US and Spanishcoaches…)
Hoops all day – the schedule is purposefully assembled with skill development early in the day and plenty of games in the evening
The Dance – Why is ‘the Dance’ featured in my highlights? Picture a a gym full of 100+ young ballers (and eager coaches) warming up to the Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna, and Rip ‘n’ Run classics tunes such as, Crazy by Aslan and ChasingCars by SnowPatrol. Surprisingly, but impressively, with routines choreographed and music DJ-ed by Camp Directors Adrian Fulton and Mark Ingle.
Diversity – Having coaches from all over the world enhances the learning potential for players and with a variety of players attending from across the different regions in Ireland, there is a a unique sense of community.
Coaches got to coach – Coaches were always in good form because they got to focus simply on how they would coach their sessions. There were no distractions because the directors made sure every other part of camp was taken care of. Then, late at night, the coaches got to hoop it up during staff pick-up games.
Players had fun improving their game – The young players were always ecstatic. Wouldn’t you be? These young players are in a safe place, making new friends, working on their game, and having a great time with other ballers from across Ireland.
I still get to hear about how great Rip ‘n’ Run is from my Queen’s U16 girls team. It really is a community and a tradition that continues to grow and get better with time.
This summer it looks set to be the best yet for Rip ‘n’ Run, coming off the back of an exciting Roadshow. The RobinsonsRoadshowTour Bus has been up and down the country hosting competitions and an array of fun basketball activities for young people throughout Ireland.
TCC: Why did the three of you start Rip ‘n’ Run?
Mark Scannell: “The real reason we started Rip n run was that we all had worked many camps for other people throughout the country and felt with those experiences we could do it bigger and better. Mark [Ingle], Adrian [Fulton], and I, are located in different parts of the country. We saw a huge opportunity to get kids to travel from throughout Ireland, and even overseas. The kids that spend a Summer at Rip ‘n’ Run come away with lifelong friendships and the buzz of playing with, and against, teammates & opponents from rival schools and clubs.”
TCC: What do campers have to look forward to this Summer?
Mark Scannell: “The presence of Spanish coaches at Rip ‘n’ Run over the last 5 years has been a major attraction for our campers. These top quality guys bring a unique style of basketball into a fun environment. We are excited to have Jose Maria Berrocal back once again. He is a huge fan of our camp and we are grateful for his support of Rip ‘n’ Run.
TCC: Any other improvements to Rip ‘n’ Run for 2013?
Mark Scannell: “Too many to name! We have focused our energy on the outdoor courts, which have been revamped. We have also added breakaway rims and new court markings, which we hope will make for a great competitive atmosphere.”
Jose Maria Berrocal is an experienced and talented coach from Spain
In this video, Camp Directors, Mark Ingle and Mark Scannell, talk about what’s in store for Rip ‘n’ Run 2013 and Clodagh Scannell, currently playing basketball for Boston University, tells TCC who her favourite Rip ‘n’ Run coach is. Megan Hoffman, former Adams State (Colorado, USA) player, shares her excitement for this unique camp experience.
Mark Ingle (Right) showing off the Rip ‘n’ Run vests sponsored by Macron and the Irish Daily Star
Coaching at Rip ‘n’ Run remains one of my favourite basketball experiences. Even thought I’ve spent the past three summers coaching camps in the USA, I hope that one day I’ll get that that call again from from Adrian.
Are you interested in attending a sleep-away Summer Camp? Then maybe Rip ‘n’ Run is for you! Visit their website at www.ripnrun.com to find out more details and how to register.
“The Irish U18 Women’s team had another fantastic win last night in Denmark where they saw off Swedish Academy side ‘Sanda’ 65 to 44.
The Irish girls once again jumped out to an early lead, up double scores 42-21 at halftime.
Again, all 12 players saw court time and all 12 contributed either rebounds or points to the victory. Leading the scoring charts for Ireland in this one was Laura Rogers with 15 while Caro Lloyd once again shone with an impressive 7 blocked shots.
The girls play Denmark today.”
Coach James Weldon and Ireland U18 Women
“The Irish U18 Women’s Team got their training camp in Belgium off to the perfect start last night with a win versus club side SISU Gentofte of Belgium 76 to 42.Ireland jumped out to a commanding 38 to 9 lead at halftime and with all 12 players getting court time in the game, managed to push the lead out by a further five points in the second half.
Caro Lloyd led all scorers with 19 points while Amy Waters was just one point shy of a double-double, finishing the contest with 9 points and 10 rebounds.
All in all a great start to the team’s trip. They resume training today and will face a Swedish Academy team later today before playing the Danish U18 National team tomorrow.”
Report: Basketball Ireland
Pictured here are the Irish girls with the SISU team (photo courtesy of Basketball Ireland)
Pre-trip photo with the U18 Ireland Women’s Team (photo courtesy of Coach, James Weldon)
They’re known around Irish basketball as the ‘Quinn Twins.’ The two brothers, Aidan and Conor, share the guard spots on the St Malachy’s College Belfast (SMCB) U19 squad and Belfast Star, both of which are coached by Phil Molloy and the well-respected former Irish International, Adrian Fulton.
The boys have had a successful season to-date, winning both the U19 All-Ireland School’s Cup and the U18 All-Ireland Cup with Belfast Star. In both competitions, Conor was chosen MVP. However, it could easily have been Aidan taking home one of those awards.
Quinn’s lead together
The two boys bring leadership to the floor, while they stretch the defence with their three-point range, but most importantly they have a great understanding of the game, which shouldn’t come as a surprise learning from the experienced St Malachy’s/Belfast Star coaching staff. [Two current NCAA players have learned their trade while at SMCB: Paul Dick(Franklin Pierce – D2) and Keelan Cairns (UPenn – Ivy League)]
Check out the video below of the Quinn’s ballin’ during a tournament against at a highly competitive invitational tournament in England.
However, what’s most exciting about these young players is their great work ethic, positive attitude and humility. Check out our video interview below, after they led their team to victory over Moycullen in the U18 National Cup.
Conor and Aidan are entering their final year of school. They’re excited about their future and hope to continue to play the game at the next level – wherever that may be. When I asked Coach Fulton about what will happen to all of the quality players that are being produced at SMCB, his response was characteristic of one of Ireland’s top youth basketball coaches:
“Our job, as far I’m concerned, is to get them to the best level they can play at. If it’s in Ireland, great. If it’s in the USA, great.” – Adrian Fulton.
Conor Quinn attacking the rack in the U19 Schools Cup Finals (2013)