16 February 2024

~3 minutes read

James Connaire included in Irish Men’s Basketball Squad

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James Connaire included in Irish Men’s Basketball Squad

Ireland men’s head coach Mark Keenan has named five uncapped players in his extended 18-man squad for next week’s FIBA Basketball World Cup 2027 European Pre-Qualifiers against Kosovo and Switzerland.

Three players from InsureMyHouse.ie Pat Duffy National Cup winners UCC Demons -James Beckom, David Lehane and James Hannigan – earn their first call-ups, while there are also potential debuts for Maigh Cuilinn forward James Connaire and Garvey’s Tralee Warriors centre Rapolas Buivydas.

Keenan will pare down his squad to 12 players on Monday, ahead of Thursday’s away game against Kosovo in Prishtina, which will be broadcast live on TG4 player from 6pm. Ireland will then face Switzerland at the National Basketball Arena on Sunday 25th February, a game which will also be broadcast live on TG4 player from 3pm.

Head coach Keenan said: “We have five new faces in the extended squad and all could feature at some point during this two-game window. All have been included as a result of their good league performances. The three guys from UCC Demons – James Beckom, David Lehane and James Hannigan – played a key role in their National Cup success last month and their good form has continued in their recent league games too. Rapolas has come through the Irish U20’s and was part of the 2022 squad that won 5 of their 6 European Championship games, so he’s used to performing at a high level. James Connaire is another former Irish underage international and at 6’8” also brings a sizeable presence to the squad.”

There are returns to the Irish set-up for Neil Randolph and Aidan Quinn, neither of whom featured during the FIBA EuroBasket 2025 Pre-Qualifiers. Sean Flood, who is plying his trade with Dutch side Den Hedler, captains the team.

Ireland are competing at FIBA Basketball World Cup level for the first time, speaking of their historic campaign and their upcoming Group A opponents, Keenan added: “It’s another massive stride for Irish international basketball, having returned to FIBA EuroBasket level in 2021, to now competing in World Cup qualification. Starting away in Kosovo will be a tough test, but the players are hugely excited and ready for the challenge. The Swiss we know well, having played them twice in our recent FIBA EuroBasket campaign, as well as two friendlies last summer. We’ve already picked up some positive results since our return to the top table of European basketball, with wins over Cyprus and Luxembourg and we’re determined to leave our mark on this World Cup campaign too, starting next week.”

The three group winners, alongside the best-ranked second-placed team, will advance to the FIBA Basketball World Cup Pre-Qualifiers Second Round, which is scheduled to take place in summer 2025. Tickets for Ireland’s FIBA Basketball World Cup 2027 European Pre-Qualifiers game with Switzerland on Sunday 25th February can be purchased here.

Ireland extended 18-man squad

Taiwo Badmus (Valur, Iceland), James Beckom (UCC Demons), Jordan Blount (Energywise Ireland Neptune), Rapolas Buivydas (Garvey’s Tralee Warriors), Keelan Cairns (Ballincollig), James Connaire (Moycullen), Paul Dick (Killester), Sean Flood (Den Hedler, Netherlands), James Gormley (Griffith College Éanna), James Hannigan (UCC Demons), David Lehane (UCC Demons), Lorcan Murphy (Templeogue), Adrian O’Sullivan (Ballincollig), Conor O’Sullivan (Energywise Ireland Neptune) Aidan Quinn (Belfast Star), Conor Quinn (Belfast Star), Neil Randolph (Templeogue), Matt Treacy (Wallabies, Switzerland).

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