Irish u20 basketballers create history again with famous win over Great Britain 9 months ago

Irish u20 basketballers create history again with famous win over Great Britain

Irish basketball is on the way up.

And the class of 1999 is taking them there.

Two years ago, the under-18 girls brought Irish basketball to previously uncharted highs. A silver medal in their palms after the under-18 championships in Dublin, they had gotten the taste for it. It only made them hungry for more.

Two years on and it's clear that these women, that these competitors have driven it on. Kosovo and the European championships of 2019 have been in their sights for a long time. They weren't going to let this opportunity pass them by.

D-day was August 2019. And they hit the ground running in the group stages. Ukraine and Great Britain were wiped out in their opening games which qualified the Irish women for a quarter final against Croatia, a highly rated team and one of the favourites to win this tournament outright.

The Irish were undeterred.

Dayna Finn and captain Claire Melia led by example. Young Enya Maguire pulled off one of the most instinctive, genius pieces of skill seen on the courts this tournament. The clip had gone viral by the next morning.

Croatia were dumped out and so they were through to the semi-finals.

Bulgaria got one over on them at the last four stage, but the Irish girls still had another chance to gain promotion to Division A for this age group for 2020, for only the second time in this nation's history.

Standing in their way was the arch-nemesis Great Britain. Beat them once, okay. Beat them twice, that's some going.

That's exactly what Ireland did.

With captain Melia inspired again and with Finn, Maguire and a host of others chipping in, Martin Conroy's girls led from pillar to post to and closed with a 60-57 win.

The score of the game came in Q3 when six passes had the Great Britain team in knots before Melia finished it off.

Pure class.