Three Portlaoise Panther basketball stars have been selected as part of Ireland’s U-16 Basketball squad.
Ciara Byrne, Gillian Wheeler and Shauna Dooley have all been selected as part of the 16-strong squad.
Ciara and Shauna attend school in Scoil Chriost Rí, Portlaoise, while Gillian attends Cross & Passion College in Kilcullen.
In a statement today, Ireland coach Karl Kilbride praised the workrate of the team. He said, “The work these girls have put in – on and off the court – on a daily and weekly basis is nothing short of inspiring.”
“For the girls who have progressed; we’re now down to 16 players who could easily represent their country at the European Championships in August,” said Kilbride.
“With Montenegro rapidly approaching, the anticipation increases, as does the pressure. As a management team, we’re all very excited for what’s ahead for this group,” he added.
The tiniest of margins
Coach Kilbride also spoke about those who didn’t make it to the final 16. “These decisions don’t get any easier. At this stage of the programme, it’s the tiniest of margins and details that separate people,” he said.
For the ones who don’t progress, they should be very proud of all they have accomplished and how far they’ve come. Hopefully they’ll use this small blip in their long basketball journey as momentum to push on, and use what they’ve learned here to keep improving and make sure next time around, they reach their end goal.
The 16-strong squad will start their international campaign when they travel to play Denmark next month.