U13s Reach Final Of Lampe Challenge International Tournament In Stockholm, Sweden.

Blue Demons U13 & U16s have just returned from a very successful trip to Stockholm, Sweden where they played in an International Tournament Lampe Challenge and got to play some of the best teams from Sweden, Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania. The trip begun on Thursday 22nd May with an overnight stay in Dublin followed by an early flight to Stockholm on the Friday morning. We arrived in Sweden to temperatures of 27 Degrees which remained for the weekend making the trip even more enjoyable but the high temperatures did make the gyms tough to play in.
The U13s coached by Dave Lehane, Connor Deasy & Dee Looney begun the tournament in fine style on the Friday Evening despite being without the injured Sean Murphy by beating Latvian Side Ridzene with fine displays from David Lehane, Cian Looney, Craig Sweeney Ryan, Murray and fine team display overall. In the 2nd Game they ran out comprehensive winners again against Swedish side Polisen Basket, in this game it was another great team display as they lead from start to finish with Shane & George OSullivan, Darren Lynch Vernon Scully & Cillian Coffey playing great basketball. In the final group game on Saturday the lads played Plunges SRC from Lithuania, The team battled hard but were out played by a class basketball team who had 3 guys over 6ft which was a huge test for our guys. In The final on Sunday we played Plunges SRC from Lithuania again and just like on Saturday the sheer height & Physic of this team was the difference as they went on to win the tournament. Despite the lack of height the whole team battled hard for the 4 qtrs and it was this fight & determination that earned Cian Looney the player of the game in the final. This tournament will stand to this team in the coming season as they learned a lot playing against different styles & talent that they can bring into next season with them.
The U16s coached by Brian Foley competed in the elite level are were up against the best U16 team from the Baltic areas. They opened there tournament against a strong Estonian team BC Kalev/Fenster. The lads played great basketball to stay with the Estonian team until the closing mins when the BC Kalev/Fenster just pulled away to win by 7pt. We had great Basketball from the 7 lads who travelled with Alex Foley, Christopher Desmond & Dylan Brickley playing well with Dylan receiving the MVP for the game. Next pool game was against Alvik Basket from Sweden on the Saturday morning in a very humid gym. The lads went basket for basket with this very big, strong & athletic team in the first qtr but they were just too good and pulled away to win comfortably in the end. With all team placing now decided we played Lidingö Basket from Sweden In the qtr final. After a slow start this was one of the best games our lads played all weekend, when losing by 19 at one stage the lads hit 4 threes from Blake Murphy, Jamie Thompson & Dylan Brickley to bring the game to within 7 points with 6 mins remaining. They fought hard for the last qtr but just could not get any closer after an brilliant display in the 2nd half. There final game for the 5th/6th place spot was against Knausiaus KMfrom Lithuania the game was evenly poised as Christopher Desmond & Derek Emelifeonwu were putting it up to the more physical Lithuanian team and only 2 points separated the teams with 4 mins to go but as the game went on Knausiaus KMfrom hit the final few baskets to win. The lads will take a lot from there performances in this tournament and the exposure to playing against high quality teams will stand to them for next season.

A most enjoyable weekend was capped off on Sunday with a trip to one of Stockholm’s biggest theme parks Grunalund where the kids enjoyed the thrills of all the roller coasters and theme park rides. The kids were a credit to the club, not only on the court but also their impeccable behavior and manner off the court. To the staff of Lampe Challenge who ran an excellent tournament in a professional manner with over 95 teams competing and finally head of delegation Ken O Leary who deserve a special mention for making the trip a huge success.