What is the future for the Hibernia Ireland basketball team?

Oisin Langan spoke to Emmet Ryan about the new team

basketball, ireland, hibernia, fiba

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

“It’s given us a nice blueprint as far as what foundations we need to put in place to give fella’s the best chance to not only perform but to win at this level” - Colin O’Reilly player/coach of Hibernia Ireland.

It was never going to be easy and it certainly isn’t a reflection on player/coach Colin O’Reilly that Hiberia Ireland lost all six of their FIBA Europe Cup games on their maiden voyage in the competition. Even though the roster was made of up of the Super Leagues best and brightest, it was still a case of amateurs against professionals and at times the Irish side struggled to match the intensity and skill levels of their various opponents from Denmark, Czech Republic and Slovenia.

The domestic season is moving forward at full pace but for those involved in the Hibernia project perhaps it’s time for reflection. Emmet Ryan of the Sunday Business Post and the ballineurope.com website says in all six games that it was clear Hibernia weren’t at the level of their opponents. The chasm, preparation wise is exemplified by the fact that one of Ireland's marquee players Conor Grace, only got off work at 4pm on the day of one of the games. “You look at that and you think did they really have a chance to begin with” Ryan adds.

The question is what can Basketball Ireland improve next year if they go back in. Ryan mused "they had passable crowds but there’s no regular Hibernia team. There’s no local identity with Hibernia, so it was hard to get crowds behind them so do they look at whoever wins the league representing Ireland”. That throws up problems for players getting enough time off their regular day jobs to play, but Ryan says Hibernia had the same issue but clubs would have one advantage. "If Demons win the League then the games will be in Cork. If Templeogue win they’ll be in Dublin but at least you can build an identity”.

According to Emmet Ryan the big picture of the Hibernia experiment was getting the Ireland national men’s team back after a financially enforced sabbatical. The women’s team are back next summer and Ryan asks of Hibernia's European voyage; “Have they done enough to feel confident they can fund a national team playing internationally in Europe as well?”.

Central contracts, entering the British Basketball League and what we can learn from Newcastle are also discussed with Emmet to hear the conversation in full go to the final quarter of the podcast bellow.