A young Laois basketball player is in with a chance of representing the Ireland senior team at this year’s European Championships which will be held in August.
James Gormley from Mountmellick, a former player with both the Portarlington Kestrels and Portlaoise Panthers, is included on the reserve list for the FIBA European Championship which takes place in Dublin from August 10-15.
Gormley, who is 7ft tall and spent the 2017-2018 season on a basketball programme in Alabama in the US, is now with Griffith College Templeogue and is one of four reserves listed in addition to the 12-man squad.
They continue to train with the squad which is managed by Mark Keenan and captained by Gormley’s Templeogue team-mate Jason Killeen.
In 2019 Gormley became the first Portlaoise Panthers player to be capped by Ireland at senior level.
Ireland will play Andorra, San Marino, Gibralter and Malta in the round robin competition.
This week saw Claire Melia, another product of the Portlaoise Panthers, play with the Ireland women’s team that comfortably beat Andorra 104-33 in the women’s competition which is currently underway in Cyprus.
Melia, who is from Monasterevin and played with Portlaoise Panthers at all age grades, is now playing with Glanmire in Cork.
Ireland play Pool A top seeds Malta today with the top two teams in the group progressing to the semi-finals on Friday and final on Saturday.
This month also saw the Ireland Women’s U-20 team compete in the elite European Challengers competition in Hungary. The Ireland team had four Portlaoise Panthers players – Ciara Byrne, Lisa Blaney, Jasmine Burke and Sarah Fleming – and were captained by Byrne as they took on Hungary, Serbia, Czech Republic, Spain and Israel.