Schools basketball is still the basis of bragging rights for the Irish senior men’s team admitted Ciaran Roe this week, as he chatted to us following the announcement of Pinergy’s three-year extension of their Official Energy and Official Insights partnership deal with Basketball Ireland, which also saw them unveiled as the new All-Ireland Schools Cup sponsor.
Ciaran Roe on schools' basketball
The Killester point guard believes that winning with the school with friends you’ve grown up is something pretty special, but added that how now – 10 years on – the slagging over past losses and victories still rages on.
The Schools Cup is still something that comes up at Irish training, if not every week then every second week! Teammates who competed against each other in finals back then, the slagging still goes on to this day, 10 years later.
Schools is an extremely important competition, it’s the one that you want to win alongside your friends of 10 years of more, which makes it all the more special. I think we all saw how important sport is for everyone this past year and it’s great to see Pinergy coming on board and sponsor the schools national competition.
Focus for the men’s Irish team now though is firmly on the upcoming FIBA European Championship for Small Countries, which will tip off in August and is being hosted here at home at the National Basketball Arena in Dublin.
With the countdown officially one, Roe said training has been going well, and that competition for places is really heating up, with a lot of new, up-and-coming talent coming into the fold – all hoping that they will have done enough to get on Mark Keenan’s final squad of 12.
“Training’s been going really well and it’s very competitive at the moment with a lot of young talent coming up into the squad,” he said. “That’s what you want though – we want to be a competitive team this summer, and in order to be a competitive team in a tournament you need to have competitive training sessions to get yourself ready. We have a good mix of senior veteran players mixed with young, up-and-coming talent who are all competing for spots now which brings a really good, competitive atmosphere to the training camp which is great to be a part of.
A home Europeans is definitely exciting. It’s one of those once in a lifetime opportunities to be able to host the tournament. We’ve been lucky in Ireland that we’ve been able to host a couple of European Championships over the past few years and it's great to be able do it again. Hopefully we can get a couple of spectators in to games to add to the atmosphere – but whether spectators are there are not, it’s definitely exciting to be able to host it.
It’s been a long season off the court for Roe though thanks to Covid-19, but his focus for the past six months in particular has been getting into the best shape possible ahead of the summer.
I kind of really ramped things up from February with conditioning, home workouts, runs and sprints and my main priority was to make sure I was going into training camp in shape. With gyms being closed it was kind of difficult to maintain, but I tried my best to keep myself going. Every team is in the same boat in that they’re just excited to get back on the court and compete again.
Ciaran Roe was speaking this week as Pinergy was announced as the new official sponsor of the All-Ireland Schools Cup competition, following the extension of their Official Energy and Official Insights partnership with Basketball Ireland in a new, three-year deal. To mark the exciting news, Pinergy also launched a special competition that will give schools across the country the chance to win key basketball equipment as they help to #PowerTheDifference to ensure that schools are well-equipped ahead of the opening games of the All-Ireland Schools Cup this September. For more details, follow Pinergy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.