Young Irish Ballers leave for Hoop Academies in England

Players1st Sports Management is a new and exciting business that aims to present opportunities for young, talented, Irish players to continue to develop their game in dedicated, basketball-focused, academies in England. There have already been several promising young athletes who have made the move across the Irish sea with the hope of enhancing their skill-set and gaining exposure.

Check out this exclusive press release from Players1st, which highlights the success of their current players in academies and provides details of a upcoming trial that will give other young ballers opportunities to study and play basketball overseas.

Charlie Coombes ballin' for Ireland is now in Plymouth Raiders due to his link with Players1st Sports Management

Charlie Coombes ballin’ for Ireland is now in Plymouth Raiders due to his link with Players1st Sports Management

Dear The Courtside Collective,

I am delighted to bring you the exciting news about the work we have been doing to present Irish Kids with valuable opportunities to help them progress their basketball careers overseas.

Following the success of Players1st recruits sent to an Academy in the UK last year, we have progressed this relationship with a view to increasing the number of opportunities for young players going to academies abroad.

Last year, Players1st presented the unlikely opportunity for two young Donegal brothers, Jason and Padraig Carr to head from the Hills of Donegal to the beautiful seaside town of Plymouth, England. For the Twins the opportunity was a fantastic opportunity and allowed them show their talents on a bigger stage. Upon arrival, the Donegal lads made an impact on and off the court. On the courts of England by showing their grit and determination to ensure they got the most out of the opportunity while off-the-court by being the strong but courteous individuals they have been brought up to be by the parents back in Donegal. Both the lads hail from Donegal town and could never imagined that only after one year there would be American institutions keeping a close eye on their progress though out the year and this is sure to continue as they complete their second year at the academy next year. One thing is certain this two talented Donegal men have a bright future ahead of them if they continue to work hard on the court.

They could never have imagined that after only one year there would be American Colleges keeping a close eye on their progress – Dermot Russell (Players1st) on the Carr Twins

In addition to the success of the Carrs, no Irish player could have ever imagined the opportunity that would follow our 3rd recruit who was selected to play at the Plymouth elite academyJordan Blount, originally from Cork, dominated the courts of South-West England and has showed why he is one of the most talked about players to come out of Ireland in recent years. As a result of his exploits in England, he was dubbed the best 15 year old to grace the shores of the UK and Ireland-this has drummed up an abundance of interest from professional clubs around Europe. Most notably from the highest league in Europe, the ACB in Spain. Jordan has recently returned from a trial with some of the top programs for Youth development in Spain and has even tied up his boots with the mighty Real Madrid, one of the power houses of European basketball.



As the English academy story thickens, Players1st are proud to present the next wave of Irish talent who have committed to the English academies: The talented brothers of Ross and Shane McCann, from Kubs in Dublin. Alan Carroll from Oblates in Inchicore, Dublin and Charlie Coobes from St Vincent’s in Dublin.

All of these talented young men will grace the English game next year but who knows where they might be the following year….

What do the parents think?

”The work that Players1st is doing by identifying opportunities and opening doors to the youth of Ireland is fantastic. We visited the Plymouth Raiders Academy with an open mind and were pleasantly surprised when we arrived. The family friendly environment is a home away from home for my son and both his mam and I feel very comfortable with our son pursuing his dream into professional basketball via the Plymouth Raiders Academy. In addition, the basketball knowledge provided by the Academy coaches was impressive and we couldn’t ask for anything more to bring our son to the next level.” – Declan Coombes (parent of Charlie Coombes, St Vincent’s)

What is the Players1st Development program?

Players1st Development program is the development arm of a basketball Management Company who have looked at ways to develop the young talent of today to become the international stars of tomorrow.

The team at Players1st sports management decided that being just a player/coach agency wasn’t enough to realise the vision and aspirations of the company over the long term in Ireland.

To help us help you, Players1st has put together the Development Program, which identifies and presents young players with the opportunities that otherwise haven’t been available to them. Essentially, we are the number 1 platform you need to realise your full potential as a basketball player whilst achieving your academic goals.

Players1st realise that not all players have similar academic and basketball objectives. Therefore, Players1st has identified a number of channels where young players can reach their goals both on and off the court.  Players1st has Representatives based in various countries, which enable us to identify the best opportunities for you as a student-athlete.

If you are a young basketball player with aspirations of playing and studying overseas then Players1st may have that opportunity for you.

The next step for you is to sign up to one of our trials where one of our scouts will hopefully identify you as a player with potential that can be nurtured into the player that you know you can be.

When is the next Trial?

8th of June.

Where is the Trial?

In the Oblate Hall, Inchicore, Dublin 8, Ireland.

Who are the Trials for?

Male players between the ages of 15-19 are invited to attend the trials.

This is an excellent opportunity for players looking for exposure for European academies and USA high schools.

How do I get a trial?

Register @

To find out more about Players1st Sports Management, visit their website at


Tony McGaharan

Co-founder of The Courtside Collective, Tony has been a player, scorekeeper, referee, coach and MC. A true fan of the game! In 2009, he coached women's basketball in Sweden for a season with the Umeå Comets ("Udominate"). He then returned home and worked with PeacePlayers International, which uses the game of basketball to bring young people together from divided communities. Tony has since joined Google and has worked in Dublin, Singapore, and now London. He is now working to create a new basketball league to provide a better basketball experience for ballers in central London and with the added goal of engaging young people in the sport.

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