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Laois basketball star named in Irish senior men’s squad for World Cup Pre-Qualifiers

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Laois native James Gormley has been named as part of an Irish Basketball 18-man squad that will compete in the upcoming FIBA World Cup Pre-Qualifiers.

From Mountmellick, Gormley is playing his club basketball with Griffith College Éanna and has impressed head coach Mark Keenan with the Irish boss paring his squad down to 12 players on Monday, ahead of Thursday’s away game against Kosovo in Prishtina, which will be broadcast live on TG4 player from 6pm. Ireland will then face Switzerland at the National Basketball Arena on Sunday, February 25 , a game which will also be broadcast live on TG4 player from 3pm.

In 2019, Gormley became the first Portlaoise Panthers player to be capped by Ireland at senior level. Gormley first started making headlines when he headed off to the USA on a basketball scholarship when he was just seventeen years old. His relentless work rate and fearless mindset at such a young age has been instrumental in his basketball career thus far.

Before he headed off to the States, Gormley traveled to the Red Star camp in Serbia and then on to Lithuania for a month, which included workouts with the legendary coach Steponas Kairys. 

The Mountmellick man, who clocks in at a whopping seven foot in height, enjoyed a year over in a US high school in Alabama and played his basketball with Team Carroll Premier. 

Ireland are competing at FIBA Basketball World Cup level for the first time, speaking of their historic campaign and their upcoming Group A opponents, Keenan added: “It’s another massive stride for Irish international basketball, having returned to FIBA EuroBasket level in 2021, to now competing in World Cup qualification. Starting away in Kosovo will be a tough test, but the players are hugely excited and ready for the challenge.

“The Swiss we know well, having played them twice in our recent FIBA EuroBasket campaign, as well as two friendlies last summer. We’ve already picked up some positive results since our return to the top table of European basketball, with wins over Cyprus and Luxembourg and we’re determined to leave our mark on this World Cup campaign too, starting next week.”

The three group winners, alongside the best-ranked second-placed team, will advance to the FIBA Basketball World Cup Pre-Qualifiers Second Round, which is scheduled to take place in summer 2025.

Ireland extended 18-man squad

Taiwo Badmus (Valur, Iceland), James Beckom (UCC Demons), Jordan Blount (Energywise Ireland Neptune), Rapolas Buivydas (Garvey’s Tralee Warriors), Keelan Cairns (Ballincollig), James Connaire (Moycullen), Paul Dick (Killester), Sean Flood (Den Hedler, Netherlands), James Gormley (Griffith College Éanna), James Hannigan (UCC Demons), David Lehane (UCC Demons), Lorcan Murphy (Templeogue), Adrian O’Sullivan (Ballincollig), Conor O’Sullivan (Energywise Ireland Neptune) Aidan Quinn (Belfast Star), Conor Quinn (Belfast Star), Neil Randolph (Templeogue), Matt Treacy (Wallabies, Switzerland).

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