FIBA 2014 European Championships
It’s the journey and not the destination that leaves the most lasting memories; it’s how we overcome adversity, obstacles and challenges that define us and our lives.
After spending more than two years working closely with an exceptional group of people, the journey is now over, but the memories will forever live on.
The European Championships were an experience and a learning tool for me, but the relationships formed with the players, parents and coaching staff is what I will always cherish.
At the start of the programme, no one knew who would make the final twelve. Players from all over the country tried out to be a part of their national team and only 24 were selected to be a part of the development squad.
Credit goes to all 24 players who put in everything they had to the programme, they sacrificed and compromised on things that they wanted to be a part of this journey, and all the while they had no promise of making it to the final twelve.
The hardest thing about coaching is the selection of a team. Certain players will make it, whilst others will not advance and more often than not, it has nothing to do with the players and more to do with the coaching style and system that the coach wants to implement.
The final panel of players that represented Ireland at the FIBA 2014 European Championships were the best ambassadors that the country could have asked for. Their attitudes and demeanour through out the entire process was outstanding.
They withstood all the pressures thrown at them from the opposition, they met all the demands of the coaching staff and never stopped fighting, believing, trusting one another and left it all out on the floor, game after game after game…
Thank you to all of you
#4 – Annie Fanning | Her tenacious defense and hustle was amazing on court, her maturity in responding to criticism and stepping up her game was outstanding and somehow, she knew how to make things awkward during player-coach meetings! #Clown
#5 – Billie Jean Byrne | Rebounding machine on the court, and off the court, there was no mistaking who was in charge during the player-coach meetings, quite scary… additionally, not sure who started FFC, but I hear she is the reigning champ!! #Shrek
#6 – Olivia Reid | Strongest player mentally that I have ever had the pleasure of working with… got the job done on the court through some impressive defense and carried herself with class off the court… somehow she’s top five in FFC, but I seriously doubt that! #ItsAHardKnockLife
#7 – Aoife Maguire | Captain of this group of players and grew as a leader over the years and especially over the two weeks. She held me accountable and made sure that I was on point and did my job! Not easy trying to please everyone, but she did what needed to be done to get the team ready. #MsPositivity #SettingStandards
#8 – Aine McDonagh | Spark plug coming off the bench to ignite the team when it needed her most. Went crazy against Austria dropping 18 points, and grabbing 7 rebounds… Highlight moment of the tournament is when she told me to calm down during a game! #PhysioTape #Shoulders
#9 – Anna Maguire | Amazing player on and off the court, whose honest conversations held everyone accountable. Mentally tough and resilient enough to overcome adversity and play through the tough times. I finally figured out how much she really likes high fives too… #IrishThrunThru #WNBA
#10 – Catherine Connaire | Crafty player who sets screens in the hotel hallway and gets really hyper after games and also before games… in fact, she was always hyper I guess… Solid teammate and friend to all the players… She does like to cry… #HallwayScreens
#11 – Jenny Morrison | It’s the quiet ones you got to watch out for. Went HAM against Romania to record her first career double double. Ranked 11th in the tournament. Unbelievable person and player, who will continue to do great things. Surprised the entire team by talking in the locker room! #Confidence
#12 – Verity O’Connor | The team failed to teach her how to tumble. Other than that, an unreal person on and off the court who was brave enough to bring up the tough conversations with me when they were needed. Still gotta work on our handshake though. Ver, like Anna, also likes high fives.. #ThreePointLayup
#13 – Rachel Leavy | I don’t even know where to start with Rach.. kept everyone on their toes, completely unpredictable off the court and kinda scary, but not as much as Lizzie and Billie… on the court, she goes hard and leaves it out there…. is the best teammate that anyone could ask for and I think the team will agree on that! #SuperHandshake
#14 – Aisling Kindle | Bravest player I know; a tough tournament didn’t allow her to drop her head, she kept fighting and pushing and being there for her teammates when they needed her most. Off the court, I don’t think I saw her without a smile. #Fighter
#15 – Lizzie McGonnell | Is by far the toughest player on the team; always willing to tell me the truth and constantly looked out for all her teammates. Player-Coach meetings with her were by far the most interesting… Another player that really held me accountable as a coach, despite the water prank with her teammates …Current FFC contender…#Rainbow #Cloud #IosagainGirl
Head Coach – Ger Tarrant | I appreciate every opportunity that was afforded to me by Ger and how he allowed me a take on a lot more responsibilities than he needed to. One of the best mentors that I have ever had. #OldSchoolQuotes
Team Manager – Joanne Holmes | Two years Jo… Never gonna be the same… had an unbelievable time working with you, our ups and downs, we made it though… and I couldn’t have done it without you… I hope you join me on the other side of the pond soon enough. #KeepSmiling
Performance Analyst – Ciaran Toner | Thanks for coming on board and delivering a top notch performance… made my job easier that you got yours done… Still can’t get over the fact that I learned more from you in the last two weeks than I did in the previous four years. #Lycoming
Physiotherapist – Aoife Healy | Short time together, but full of good memories… I loved bouncing ideas off you and debating the physical and mental components of athlete development. You were on point with your treatment of players through out and we wouldn’t have got through without you… #EurovisionVotes
Thank you for everything guys.