Great news for fans of basketball and brilliant sport: the Hula Hoops 3x3 returns this year. Taking place on Saturday May 18 at the Bray Seafront, the Hula Hoops 3x3 will see some of the best basketball players in Ireland playing thrilling, high-paced three-a-side basketball in an outdoor environment. 3x3 basketball has experienced a massive explosion in popularity in Europe and the US in recent years and Hula Hoops 3x3 gives Irish sports fans a rare opportunity to watch 'street basketball' at its finest. Best of all, it's free, making Bray the place for basketball fans to be on May 18.
Many of the top basketball teams in Ireland will be represented on May 18. Here are some of the interesting story lines to look out for at Hula Hoops 3x3 this year.
DCU Saints are in with a strong chance of defending their throne. DCU surprised a lot of people by winning last year's Hula Hoops 3x3. The anchor of their team is Martins Provizors. At 6'9, Martins is recognised as one of the premier 3x3 players in the country. Any team that wants to win this year's title will have to stop Martins.
Templeogue look like the team most likely to dethrone the champions. Templeogue are driven by two Bray boys - Lorcan Murphy and Neil Randolph - who'll both be looking to shine on the seaside. Lorcan is the most athletic basketball player in Ireland, with an incredible leap and amazing dunking ability. Randolph might be best long distance shooter in the country. Put them together in the same 3x3 team and Templeogue are potentially unstoppable. The Southsiders also recently won last month's Champions Trophy so they'll be arriving in Bray in form.
If you're looking to back a dark horse, consider Dublin Lions. They have been promoted to the Super League for the first time after a strong season and look like a dangerous prospect for any side.
The women’s side of the bracket is looking especially competitive this year, with pretty much all of the top tier sides involved.
As ever, Liffey Celtics are the team to beat. They won the league and the cup this season with style, but they will be without SuperLeague MVP Allie LeClaire.
However Champions Trophy winners Fr Matthews will fancy their chances. The Cork side boast one of Ireland's best 3x3 players in Grainne Dwyer. Grainne inspired Glanmire to victory last season and will have her sister Niamh by her side in the Fr. Matthews team. The Dwyer sister played together internationally in 3x3 including in the European Olympic Games so will be familiar with the format.
Killester will be hard to beat as well. They finished the SuperLeague in phenomenal form and will be looking to bring that form to the outdoor court.