We are living longer and remaining physically active much longer than previous generations and team sports are increasingly recognising the need to cater to a new and returning audience.

Basketball Ireland is the latest sport to announce formal over 40’s and over 50’s Masters National Cup competitions for the 2020/21 season, for both men and women.

The sport already enters Masters teams in international competition and who knows, this could be a pathway for someone who thought their shot at national representation in sport may have passed.

A Masters Cup finals weekend will take place at the end of February at the National Basketball Arena.

Basketball Ireland is seeking expressions of interest by August 1st from clubs and players, including those not affiliated with clubs. The Masters Section Steering Committee will decide on competitions once they have been received.

The new Masters National Cups will be open draw national competitions, while Shield competitions may be organised for sides beaten in the first round, to guarantee teams at least two games.

“The men’s and women’s Masters National Cup finals weekend, which would take place on February 27th and 28th, will be a highlight of the Masters season,” said Basketball Ireland CEO Bernard O’Byrne.

“Basketball Ireland is constantly looking at ways to keep people actively playing the game at all ages and this new Masters National Cup will hopefully entice some new and returning players.”

Masters tournaments take place in Gaelic Games at an inter-county level and in less formal manners in soccer and rugby.

With the increase in walking, running and cycling seen through the lockdown period, it is a well-timed move to offer a path back into team sport for those who may have enjoyed it in the past or even those who might just have been inspired to play by watching their children play or even, in aspirational fashion, by watching the Last Dance documentary.