Bantry Basketball Club's young stars making their mark

November 19th, 2021 8:45 AM

By Southern Star Team

A number of Bantry Basketball Club members have been selected for various regional and provincial academies. From left, Clodagh Downey (U15 Girls’ Academy, Munster), Belle O'Donoghue (U14 Girls’ South Regional Academy), James Keane (U15 Boys’ Academy, Munster), Leah Cotter (U15 Girls’ Academy, Munster), Stephen O'Donovan (Ireland U16), Saerlath Bestor (U15 Girls’ Academy, Munster), Charlie Curran (U15 Boys’ Provincial Academy, Munster), Abbie O’Sullivan (U14 Girls’ South Regional Academy) and Jack Phillips (U15 Boys’ Provincial Academy, Munster).

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BANTRY Basketball Club is bouncing right now after a number of its players were selected for various regional and provincial academies, highlighting the depth of talent in the West Cork club right now.

The Basketball Ireland player pathway to international basketball starts at U14 regional level where there are 12 National Regional Academies. These academies are coached by some of Ireland’s top basketball coaches with a programme of training for the year as well as a residential camp.

Bantry Basketball Club’s Abbie O’Sullivan and Belle O’Donoghue were selected from the trials for the girls’ U14 academy to be coached by Francis O'Sullivan. From these 12 academies players are then selected the following year for their provincial academy.

At U15 level the 12 regional academies are condensed to four provincial academies with 25 players in each. In the girls’ academy, the Bantry trio of Clodagh Downey, Leah Cotter and Saerlath Bestor were selected, while Charlie Curran, James Keane and Jack Phillips were selected for the boys’ U15 academy.

The next step on the pathway is at U16 level where the best players from the four academies are selected to be on the Irish U16 squad. The U16 squads have held one trial already and have cut down from 280 to just 41 players, and Bantry’s Stephen O'Donovan has made the cut. This squad will be further reduced to 30 on the weekend of November 20th when another trial will be held.

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