Carrigaline Basketball Club
By Helen O’Leary
The U13 Carrigaline Tigers made history last week by becoming the first Irish girls team to take part in the Euro Basket International Tournament in Pace, France. This tournament is in its 34th year with 28 boys’ teams and 14 girls’ teams from around the world competing this year.
This was a huge honour for this group of young talented kids to represent their club, county and country in what was a thrilling tournament. The Tigers arrived in Pace on Friday evening and despite a long day of travelling their spirits were high and their singing was loud! The players met with their host families who would look after them for the weekend. As the majority of the players on this team are only 12 years old they were very mature and brave in what must have been a daunting situation for them.
Saturday morning began with a welcome parade through the town for the players where the girls sang loud and held their Irish flag high. After the parade, it was down to business and the games began. The Tigers had a very challenging start to the competition. The crowd was very loud so players struggled to hear direction from their coaches, the playing rules were different and the language barrier proved difficult. They suffered a tough defeat against the home team Pace, this team would go on to win the tournament, this was followed by a narrow loss against an extremely strong and athletic team from the Caribbean.
Sunday told a very different story however as the Tigers came back fighting. The day got off to a flying start when they beat the Casablanca team 17-6. Their confidence was building just in time for their next game against the French team La Chaize Giraud. The noise reached new levels in this game with the Carrigaline supporters refusing to be drowned out by the large French crowd. With their rendition of “Ireland’s Call” being sang and bagpipes playing the Tigers were spurred on to a nail biting victory of 20-16. The final game was against one of the competition favourites; Logrono, Spain. This was a tough game for the Tigers against a very skilfull Spanish side. The game was extremely close with the teams only a basket between each other most of the game…..
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