While the Irish Soccer team has qualified for the Euros 2016, European Club basketball returns to Ireland for the first time in 22 years this week when Hibernia play at home for the first time in the FIBA Europe Cup.
The combined club side have endured games in Denmark, Slovenia and the Czech Republic in the last three weeks but will host Danish Champions Bakken Bears at the National Basketball Arena on Wednesday.
“We looked to ambush them in Aarhus,” said Player Coach Colin O’Reilly. Bakken Bears came from behind to win comfortably and are now one win away from qualification to the last 32. “Now it’s about being confident and giving as good as we get on our home court. We always knew it was going to be tough on the road.”
The last time European club basketball was played on an Irish court was in 1993. Jameson St. Vincent’s beat UMF Snaefull of Iceland in the first round before defeat to Dutch side BV Commodore. Mark Keenan was the side’s point guard.
“It was a massive experience as a player,” said Keenan who is now Head Coach of Templeogue. “I remember we had good support for the home legs in the Arena. There were plenty of people from clubs around Dublin there so I hope the lads get the same again on Wednesday night. They’ve had it tough with the way games so they’ll be relishing the challenge at home.”
Hibernia were dealt a blow over the weekend with the news that DCU Saints centre Martins Provizors will miss the remaining games in Group F due to a hand injury.
Tickets for Hibernia Basketball’s games in the FIBA Europe Cup can be purchased at Eventbrite.ie