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Mayo football star one of two uncapped players in Ireland basketball squad for Europeans
Head coach James Weldon has named his 12-strong side, with some big names in there.

MAYO LADIES FOOTBALL star Dayna Finn is one of two uncapped players in the Ireland women’s senior squad for the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries.

Head coach James Weldon named his 12-strong side for the tournament in Nicosia, Cyprus from 20 to 25 July, with DCU Mercy’s Rachel Huijsdens the other debutant.

dayna finn Inpho Sport. Dual star: Dayna Finn. Inpho Sport.

Finn plays her basketball with Maree, and like Huijsdens, has significant underage experience, winning silver medals together at the U18 European Championship in 2017 and bronze at the U20 Euros in 2019.

Fellow rising stars Sorcha Tiernan and Claire Melia were also part of those Irish underage medal-winning sides, and both have already earned senior Irish caps and made huge impact at the highest level.

Melia is one of three Glanmire players in the squad, joined by clubmates Aine McKenna and Claire Rockall. Hannah Thornton is the other DCU Mercy representative alongside Huijsdens, with Tiernan and Aine O’Connor the Liffey Celtics duo involved.

Irish basketball stalwart Gráinne Dwyer (Fr Mathews), Michelle Clarke (Pyrobel Killester), Edel Thornton (Brunell), and Fiona O’Dwyer (unsigned) make up the squad.

“Since we were allowed to return to train as a team in April I have been so impressed by the commitment, dedication and preparation of our squad members, working with our management team,” Weldon said.

“Consequently, it was a difficult decision to select a final squad, with so many talented and exceptional players to choose from. We are really looking forward to the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries in Cyprus in July, eager to give a good account of ourselves and challenge for honours.

“The team return to National Basketball Arena this weekend to build on the work we have done so far.”

Ireland open their tournament in Pool A against Adorra on 20 July, before facing top seeds Malta two days later. They were also due to face Norway, though they have pulled out of the tournament.

Luxembourg, Cyprus and Kosovo make up Pool B. Gibraltar were originally included there, but they have also withdrawn.

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The competition will be played on a round-robin format; the top two teams in each group progress to the semi-finals on 24 July, while the third-placed teams face off in the fifth/sixth place classification game on the same day.

The final and the third/fourth place playoff take place on 25 July.

Finn is expected to miss Mayo’s All-Ireland senior championship group clash against Armagh on 24 July, at least, as a result. Michael Moyles’ Green and Red also face Cavan and Monaghan in Group A, as they target an All-Ireland quarter-final spot.

Kiltimagh star Finn has excelled at centre-half back for the county of late.

IRELAND SENIOR WOMEN’S SQUAD: Michelle Clarke (Pyrobel Killester), Gráinne Dwyer (Fr Mathews), Dayna Finn (Maree BC), Rachel Huijsdens (DCU Mercy), Claire Melia (Glanmire), Aine McKenna (Glanmire), Aine O’Connor (Liffey Celtics), Fiona O’Dwyer (Unsigned), Claire Rockall (Glanmire), Sorcha Tiernan (Liffey Celtics), Edel Thornton (Brunell BC), Hannah Thornton (DCU Mercy).

(More squad information available here >)

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