Limerick duo named in Ireland U20 squad for FIBA European Challenge

Limerick duo named in Ireland U20 squad for FIBA European Challenge

Eve Nealon is one of two Limerick players named in the Ireland U20 squad for the FIBA European Challenge 2021

TWO Limerick players have been included by Ireland U20’s women’s head coach Martin Conroy in his 18-person squad for the FIBA European Challenge 2021, as the team prepare to take on Europe’s best in ‘A’ division basketball.

The U20 women returned to training last weekend, after being given the green light to do so by Sport Ireland.

The Limerick players named in the squad are the Limerick Celtics duo of Eve Nealon, now of Shippensberg University, and Laura Stapleton, both past pupils of Crescent College Comprehensive. 

Nealon is one of four players selected in the squad who are currently playing in the USA.

Speaking about his squad, head coach Martin Conroy said: “We’ve been away from the game for a long time, but these young women were fantastic at our three Talent ID sessions and gave our staff a lot of difficult decisions to make. Our coaching staff talked it through, and we have selected these final 18 players.

"There are some incredibly talented players that have missed out, but that’s what we expected at this level. It’s going to be a very fast turnaround, with just six to seven weeks to prepare, but we’re here to make sure that we put in maximum effort, so that we will be ready for the European Challenge tournament.”

The FIBA European Challenge 2021 replaces the Youth European Championships, which were cancelled by FIBA earlier this month.

Four Irish underage sides will be competing in the FIBA European Challenge 2021 this summer, after confirmation by Basketball Ireland’s Elite Performance Committee (EPC), following consultation with all stakeholders - management, parents and players. Ireland’s U20 women, U18 men’s and women’s teams and the Irish U16 women are all participating.

Chair of the EPC, Tim Rice, said: “While not having Youth European Championships is disappointing for all, the opportunity for these four teams to test their mettle on the international stage in the European Challenge tournaments this summer is a big win for Irish basketball. Our players, parents, coaches, and team management should be commended for continuing to strive, persevere and never give up.”

The EPC will assist these squads logistically and financially as much as possible. This participation is contingent upon government guidelines on travel and general health issues, which we continue to monitor on a daily basis.

Ireland’s U16 and U20 men’s teams have chosen not to compete in the FIBA European Challenge 2021.

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