Friday, October 29, 2021

IRELAND senior women’s head coach, James Weldon has named three Kildare players in his extended 17-person squad for the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2023 Qualifiers. Leixlip’s Aine O’Connor and Sorcha Tiernan (both Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics) and Monasterevin’s Claire Melia (The Address UCC Glanmire) who each stared for Ireland during the Small Countries Competition during the summer have deservedly been included again.

Monasterevin’s Clare Melia

Ulster University’s Abigail Rafferty and WIT Waterford Wildcats player Kate Hickey both represented Ireland at the FIBA U20 Women’s European Challengers in Hungary during the summer. Trinity Meteors player Sarah Kenny has also previously been capped at underage level. There is a first call up for Maura Fitzpatrick, with the Connecticut native currently playing for Gloucester City Queens in the WBBL.

Fitzpatrick is not the only overseas-based player in the squad, with Anna Kelly, who is with Belgian club Spirou Ladies Charleroi, also selected. There are 12 Irish clubs are represented, with three players from DCU Mercy, while Trinity Meteors, Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics and WIT Waterford Wildcats have two players each.

Ireland will play their opening qualifier against the Netherlands in Amsterdam in two weeks time, on November 11th, followed by Czech Republic on November 14th at the National Basketball Arena, in Dublin.

Ireland head coach James Weldon said: “The team are excited to be back playing at the highest level internationally, but are also keenly aware of the formidable challenges that lies ahead. We are looking forward to getting the team together during the international break in November. The process of rebuilding the team will continue over the three international windows, as players learn to play at this elite level.”

Ireland are in Group I of qualifying which also contains Belarus, who they will face in the second FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2023 Qualifiers window, in November 2022.

Ireland senior women’s squad:

Abigail Rafferty (Ulster University), Anna Kelly (Spirou Ladies Charleroi), Áine O’Connor (Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics), Claire Melia (The Address UCC Glanmire), Dayna Finn (Trinity Meteors), Edel Thornton (Singleton Supervalu Brunell), Gráinne Dwyer (Fr. Mathews), Hannah Thornton (DCU Mercy), Kate Hickey (WIT Waterford Wildcats), Lynn Tunnah (Griffith College Templeogue), Maeve Phelan (DCU Mercy), Maura Fitzpatrick (Gloucester City Queens), Michelle Clarke (Killester), Rachel Huijsdens (DCU Mercy), Sorcha Tiernan (Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics), Sarah Kenny (Trinity Meteors), Stephanie O’Shea (WIT Waterford Wildcats).

Full detailed squad:

First Name Surname D.O.B Age Height Club Position
Abigail Rafferty 01-01-2002 19 184cm Ulster University Forward
Anna Kelly 18-06-1997 24 168cm Spirou Ladies Charleroi Point Guard
Aine O’Connor 28-11-1991 29 185cm Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics Forward
Claire Melia 07-12-1999 21 190cm The Address UCC Glanmire Centre
Dayna Finn 02-09-2000 21 175cm Trinity Meteors Shooting Guard
Edel Thornton 27-11-1996 24 170cm Singleton Supervalu Brunel Point Guard
Grainne Dwyer 19-12-1984 36 178cm Fr. Mathews Forward
Hannah Thornton 29-07-1991 29 175cm DCU Mercy Centre
Kate Hickey 15-10-2002 19 180cm WIT Waterford Wildcats Small Forward
Lynn Tunnah 14-06-2000 21 175cm Griffith College Templeogue Shooting Guard
Maeve Phelan 05-05-2000 21 177cm DCU Mercy Shooting Guard
Maura Fitzpatrick 27-02-1997 24 178cm Gloucester City Queens Small Forward
Michelle Clarke 03-09-1994 27 176cm Killester Small Forward
Rachel Huijsdens 23-06-1999 22 193cm DCU Mercy Forward
Sorcha Tiernan 18-09-1999 22 174cm Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics Shooting Guard
Sarah Kenny 24-01-1997 24 182cm Trinity Meteors Forward
Stephanie O’Shea 25-04-1991 30 185cm WIT Waterford Wildcats Centre
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