25 October 2023

~3 minutes read

University of Galway’s Kara McCleane named in Irish Extended Squad for Eurobasket Qualifer

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University of Galway’s Kara McCleane named in Irish Extended Squad for Eurobasket Qualifer

University of Galway Mystics’ Kara McCleane has been named in the Ireland extended squad for their Eurobasket Qualifier against France at the National Basketball Arena next month.

McCleane has been rewarded for her excellent form during her two MissQuote.ie Super League appearances this season, averaging 35.5 points per game along with 8.5 rebounds.

The Irish U20 international makes the step up having played a leading role in Ireland’s 8th place finish at the 2023 FIBA European Youth Championship.

Ireland head coach James Weldon has named an extended 21-person squad for their FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2025 Qualifier with some notable inclusions.

Guard Jessica Scannell is named in a preliminary squad for the first time since 2009. The 34-year-old Cork native currently plies her trade with Geelong in Australia, averaging 6.1 points in 25 minutes during 23 appearances in Australia’s NBL-ONE this season. Scannell previously played under head coach James Weldon in the Irish U18 setup in 2007.

Head coach James Weldon is looking forward to testing their progress against France: “We will need to show the composure, consistency and determination that has become a hallmark of this group. My management team and I feel that for this campaign we have selected the correct blend of players combining the younger players – who have recently come through the underage structures – with the more seasoned players who have taken part in previous campaigns. It has created tremendous energy and cohesiveness in the group.

The summer programme has served us well to prepare for this challenge. Having Jessica back from Australia with her experience, versatility and overall qualities is also a boost to the team. We look forward to a special atmosphere in Tallaght as always for these games and putting on a performance against France which is ranked 7th in the FIBA World Rankings, for all our supporters.”

Former DCU Mercy shooting guard Nicole Clancy comes into the squad after her switch to Barking Abbey in London, as does 6’1” power forward Abigail Rafferty following her return to the MissQuote.ie Super League with Ulster University, where she is averaging 16.2ppg, along with 7.6 rebounds through the first five weeks of the season.

Ireland begin their campaign at home to France on November 12th, followed provisionally by a trip to face Israel in February 2024. All games will be broadcast live on TG4. Tickets for Ireland’s home game with France can be purchased here.

Ireland women’s extended squad: Jessica Scannell (Geelong LS, Aus), Michelle Clarke (Killester BC), Sarah Hickey (SETU Waterford Wildcats), Kate Hickey (SETU Waterford Wildcats), Rachel Huijsdens (FloMAX Liffey Celtics), Mia Furlong (The Address UCC Glanmire), Lauryn Homan (Gurranabraher Credit Union Brunell), Edel Thornton (Gurranabraher Credit Union Brunell), Abigail Rafferty (Ulster University), Claire Melia (Killester BC), Hannah Thornton (DCU Mercy), Bridget Herlihy (Ensino Lugo CB, Spa), Annalise Murphy (The Address UCC Glanmire), Sorcha Tiernan (FloMAX Liffey Celtics), Nicole Clancy (Barking Abbey, UK), Maura Fitzpatrick (BC Pharmaserv Blue Dolphins Marburg), Áine O’Connor (FloMAX Liffey Celtics), Kara McCleane (University of Galway Mystics).

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