Ruairi Cronin, of Castletroy College, left, is one of three Limerick based players named on the Ireland U18 squad
THREE Limerick-based players have been included in the Ireland U18 men's squad for the FIBA European Challenge 2021, which will take place in Levice, Slovakia from August 3-8.
There are five uncapped players selected including the Castletroy College duo of Ruairi Cronin (Limerick Celtics), Ajay Ryan-Walsh (Limerick Lions). Cronin featured for Ireland in the FIBA U17 Skills Challenge 2020.
The third Limerick-based player named in head coach Paul Kelleher's squad for the FIBA European Challenge is Reece Barry, of St Munchin's College and Limerick Lions
Barry picked up an Ireland U16 cap in December 2018, in friendly games against Belarus.
Head coach Paul Kelleher said: “In many ways this was the most difficult selection we’ve ever had to make. Not being on the floor very long, really getting to know all the players on a different level for a lot longer than usual, has made this really difficult.
"We’ve spent so many Sunday nights on zoom, interacting more than we’ve ever done before. I personally would have enjoyed and loved to have spent more basketball time with this group, but it just wasn’t possible. Now we have our 12 selected players, we will practice as much as we can, continue to develop individually and collectively and see how it works out for us.”
In May FIBA cancelled all 2021 Youth European Championships, replacing them with the FIBA European Challenge 2021. Ireland’s U18 men are in a seven-team tournament and will face Bulgaria and Hungary in their group. The other group contains Romania, Ukraine, Switzerland and Slovakia. The fixture schedule and competition format is still to be confirmed.
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