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Ireland overcome Britain in thriller to secure historic bronze medal

The result also means they earn promotion to Division A for their age group for 2020.

Irish players celebrate their win.
Irish players celebrate their win.

IRELAND’S BASKETBALLERS SECURED a historic bronze medal after beating Great Britain 60-57 at the FIBA U20 Women’s European Championships Division B today.

The result also means they earn promotion to Division A for their age group for 2020.

It is an impressive achievement for the squad, the majority of whom also earned a silver level at U18 level in Dublin two years ago.

Captain Claire Melia was among the game’s most impressive performers, ending the game with yet another double double of 20 points and 10 rebounds, in addition to seven assists.

Dayna Finn also registered a double double of 10 points and 10 rebounds, along with five assists and three steals, while Enya Maguire, Annaliese Murphy, Maeve Phelan and Rachel Huijsdens were similarly impressive.

Ireland led 22-7 at the end of the opening quarter, while they were 41-24 to the good at half-time.

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Yet Britain threatened a comeback thereafter, and only trailed by six points, with the score 50-44, going into the fourth quarter.

Ireland’s rivals continued to close the gap thereafter, making it a one-point game amid a nerve-wracking finale, as Ebony Horton scored with just over a minute remaining.

However, Martin Conroy’s side held their nerve, with Melia scoring again to consolidate their victory.

That was just amazing,” Conroy said afterwards. “I spoke beforehand about those 12 women and what they’re capable of and how good they are together. The first quarter today was just immense, the defense we played holding Great Britain to just seven points and putting 22 up at the other end was just phenomenal. GB are such a good team, they were always going to run at us, and they came right back at us and got it back to one point at one stage, we did the right things though.

“We don’t have to do much with this team as coaches, as they’re just phenomenal players and there’s such unity there, their will to win is immense. This is twice they have won a European medal and I’m just the lucky one who was given the job to come on board with them and a fantastic staff. We’ve had our ups and downs this week, we’ve a had a couple of losses that we’re probably unhappy with, but the way we bounced back every time, is just incredible. I am so happy for each and every one of them.”

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