Cork Win Hosting Rights to Euro Basketball

The Mardyke Arena at University College Cork is to host next year’s FIBA Women’s European Championship for Small Countries.

Cork has long been a stronghold for Basketball and this is a smart move following on from the massive success of Ireland’s hosting this year of the European U18 Championships in Dublin.

Ireland made it all the way to the Final of that tournament in front of packed stadia at the National Basketball Arena and the Sport Ireland National Indoor Stadium.

“This is fantastic news for the Irish basketball community,” said Secretary General of Basketball Ireland, Bernard O’Byrne speaking at the official announcement yesterday.

“We look forward to working with Patsy Ryan and everyone at the Mardyke Arena UCC to host another great tournament where we will welcome star players from across Europe.”

The tournament will take place between June 26th and July 1st next summer and bring together eight countries from the second tier of European Basketball.

Ireland came second in this tournament two years ago on it’s return to the international game and the success of this summer has raised hopes for another strong run in 2018.

As part of our Leading Sport series of interviews with those determining the future of sport in Ireland we caught up with Bernard O’Byrne, Secretary General of Basketball Ireland to speak about a fine summer and a bright future for the sport.

“The learnings from hosting 23 teams in Dublin, what we did right and where we could have been better, have all bee captured and will form the basis of our planning for this tournament with the Mardyke Arena,” added O’Byrne.

“It’s fantastic that the Mardyke Arena UCC will be hosting the 2018 Women’s European Championship for Small Countries. We look forward to welcoming our international visitors to Cork, said Lord Mayor of Cork Tony Fitzgerald.

There will be a real sense of this being a major event for Cork and for Munster with memories of the hosting of the Irish Open in Golf at Fota Island conjuring up a great community spirit across the region.

The news will also be warmly welcomed by the clubs across the region with four clubs in Cork taking part in this season’s Basketball Super League and another three from Kerry making up a strong contingent as part of the expanded 38 teams in the League.

“We are very proud to be chosen as the host venue for the 2018 Women’s European Championship for Small Countries next June,” said Mardyke Arena General Manager Patsy Ryan.

“It is a great endorsement of the world-class facilities at the Arena and we look forward to working with FIBA and Basketball Ireland over the coming months.”

“Home advantage is very important, as was proven with the Under 18 girls in Dublin in August, and the Mardyke is as good as a home venue for us as we have trained and played there so often,” concluded Ireland Team Manager Mark Scannell.

“Now, it’s up to all the eligible players to put themselves forward for selection by playing and preparing as best they can over the next six months so that we can get our best team on the floor.”

That same level of preparation will be going in to providing the ebst facilities and the best tournament experience for teams travelling to Ireland.

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Image Credit: Sportsfile

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