Josh Steadman and Eoghan Daly
Two Kildare players have been named in its six-man Ireland team for this week’s FIBA Esports Open III.
Once again Mick Curley, who plays basketball for Glasnevin and is a former Ireland U16 squad member, will captain Ireland’s Esports side.
The experienced John De Lara has been called into the Irish squad for the first time. The 22-year-old Dubliner plays NBA 2K internationally for Vendetta Gaming. The five players who competed for Ireland in the FIBA Esports Open II last December retain their places – Mick Curley, Dale West, Eoghan Daly, Josh Stedman and Jack Tobin.
Eoghan Daly is a 22-year-old TUD student, from Sallins. He has changed positions from the last FIBA tournament and will now be a glass cleaning finisher at the Centre position.
Josh Stedman is originally from Kildare, but is now based in Carlow. The 20-year-old works in retail and will be lining out as a perimeter lockdown point guard.
The FIBA Esports Open III has almost doubled in size, with 60 teams now competing worldwide. Ireland are competing in the Europe Conference ‘Current Gen’ competition and will play Estonia, Poland and Latvia in the group stage on Friday. The knockout stage, which is now a best-of-3 playoff series, takes place on Saturday and Sunday.
Speaking about his call-up John De Lara said: “I am delighted to be chosen to represent Ireland at the FIBA Esports Open. I watched the team compete at the last tournament and they were desperately unlucky not to emerge from the group stage. I am hoping that I can help us progress to the knockout stage.”
Ireland captain Mick Curley added: “We're excited to be able to represent Ireland again in the third FIBA Esports Open. We were unfortunate to miss out on a spot in the quarter-finals on points difference last time out, but it was a learning experience for all of us. We've been practicing a lot more this time around and we have added another talented player to the team, so hopefully we can make a good run in this tournament.”
“The team is preparing well at the moment against strong international competition. The guys are more familiar with each other, having played together before and we’re excited to see how John’s addition gives us more depth and variety too. Having won a game in the last tournament, the team are hoping to go further this year and make the knockout stages.”
This tournament will also see Ireland’s team feature Hula Hoops on the team jersey. The long time partners of Irish basketball are supporting the team for the first time.
You can watch all of Ireland’s games on FIBA’s digital channels with live content being streamed across Facebook, Twitch and Yo uTube channels.
Ireland’s game schedule:
Friday 23rd 6pm vs Estonia
Friday 23rd 6.40pm vs Poland
Friday 23rd 9.20pm vs Latvia