The initial 26 man training roster for Hibernia Basketball has been named featuring one of the oldest active players on the continent and some massive caveats, writes Emmet Ryan
As expected, player-coach Colin O’Reilly is part of the panel along with another 5 of his team-mates at UCC Demons. The squad features 9 of the 12 man team that went to China as part of the Irish men’s Premier Select side that finished third in the Sino-Europe Championship. Paul Dick was never in consideration for Hibernia as he plays in LEB Plata in Spain with Araberri. Shane Coughlan and Nial O’Reilly, both of Demons, have removed themselves from consideration.
Jack O’Mahony of Fr Mathews is the youngest player in the squad, having impressed in the Irish U18 cup final last winter, while Jermaine Turner will be one of the oldest men to play in European competition this season if he makes the final cut. Turner, of Killester, turned 41 in July but averaged a meaty 23.9 points per game and 13.4 rebounds per game in the league last season.
Here’s the full 26 man roster as it stands:
Guards: Kyle Hosford* (C&S UCC Demons), Roy Downey* (C&S UCC Demons), Adrian O’Sullivan (C&S UCC Demons), Mark Nagle (DCU Saints), Ciaran Roe (Killester), Patrick Lyons (SSE Airtricity Moycullen), Kevin Lacey* (Swords Thunder), Isaac Westbrooks (Swords Thunder), Conor Meany* (UCD Marian), Dan James* (UCD Marian), Forwards: Colin O’Reilly* (C&S UCC Demons), Ciaran O’Sullivan* (C&S UCC Demons), Jack O’Mahony (Fr Mathews), Niall Murphy (C&S UCC Demons), Michael Bonaparte (BFG Neptune), Dylan Cunningham (SSE Airtricity Moycullen), Conor Grace* (Templeogue), Neil Campbell (UL Eagles).
Centres: Keelan Cairns* (Belfast Star), Martins Provizors* (DCU Saints), Jermaine Turner (Killester), Ronan O’Sullivan (SSE Airtricity Moycullen), Jason Killeen (Templeogue), Luke Thompson (Templeogue), Phil Taylor (Templeogue), Neil Baynes (UCD Marian).
*Denotes players who competed at the Sino-European Championships with the men’s Premier Select.
There are a few things to bear in mind here, chief of which is the situation with imports, or rather the FIBA definition (Ireland is stricter so Michael Bonaparte for example doesn’t count as one in FIBA Europe Cup but does in the Irish league). As it stands there are zero named in the side but O’Reilly has said he will allow room for them to be part of the final roster. With up to 6 of the 12 spots potentially being open to imports, there could be a serious amount of competition for places in this side. The clubs in Ireland have already indicated to Basketball Ireland that Hibernia’s participation in this competition could improve the calibre of import they attract but it’s still hard to see O’Reilly using up the full allocation of 6 spots. At a max I envisage him naming 4 men who aren’t on the above list.
The other factor to bear in mind is transfers. It’s likely a few of these players will move clubs before the final deadline, so that could see a significant shuffle in representation on the final roster. It may not seem significant but when you are dealing with amateur players, the more of these players who play together week-in week-out the easier it is to organise practice.