Federation Focus: Ireland

04 June 2012

1945 saw the formation of the Amateur Basketball Association of Ireland (ABAI), which affiliated with FIBA in 1947. The name of the association changed from the original ABAI to the Irish Basketball Association (IBA) in 1980. Finally, the IBA was re-branded to Basketball Ireland (BI) in 2003.

Basketball Ireland is the governing basketball body in Ireland, taking care of the development, administration and promotion of basketball in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Federation is not only in charge of all national teams, but also the national leagues, including the Men's and Women's SuperLeague, Ireland's top flights.

Bernard OByrne, Secretary General of Basketball Ireland, presents Megan OLeary, St.Vincents, Cork, with the player of the match award.
Bernard O'Byrne, Secretary General of Basketball Ireland, presents Megan O'Leary, St.Vincents, Cork, with the player of the match award after the Basketball Ireland Girls U16A Schools League Final 2011 (St.Vincents, Cork vs. Mercy Mounthawk, Tralee, Co. Kerry).


The primary focus of the Federation is to increase the participation levels of basketball throughout the country. According to the current strategic plan (2011-14), the Federation hopes to increase the number of club players from 14,741 to 16,500 in 2014. With regard to Post Primary Schoolchildren and Primary Schoolchildren, the goal is to increase the number of players from 27,248 to 68,000.

The effort put in by the Federation to promote the sport has paid off so far. According to the Federation of Irish Sports, basketball is in the top six of sports in Ireland out of 52 sporting bodies. Among the 12-18 age group, it is even the second most popular physical activity after football.

Historically, a couple of sporting moments catch the eye. In 1948, Irish Basketball celebrated one of its greatest moments, as the men's national team took part in the Olympic Games, which were staged in London. The team finished last out of 23. It is the only participation of an Irish basketball team at the Olympics up to date.

Ireland hosts Denmark in EuroBasket 2005 Division B.
In 2005, Ireland got a shot at qualifying for Division A, but in the end three points separated them from the top tier.


In recent years, both the men's and the women's senior national team have taken Ireland to the European basketball map. In 2005, the men's team took part in the EuroBasket Division B and missed the qualification for EuroBasket 2007 Division A by a blink. Ireland faced Denmark in the Qualification Games and lost 150-152 on aggregate.

After winning the first Qualification Game 80-66, things looked bright and Division A was within reach, but the Irish travelled to Denmark and lost the second game 86-70 seeing their hopes fade away. 

In 2009, it was the women's team turn to get unlucky. Ireland had to win their final game against the Netherlands in the EuroBasket Women Division B by more than 12 points to advance to the promotion games for Division A. The Irish were leading by as many as 11 points in the third quarter, but could not hang on to the lead and ended up winning 67-62. The Netherlands and Montenegro were promoted instead.


National Basketball Arena in Dublin, headquarters of Basketball Ireland.
The National Basketball Arena, the headquarters of Basketball Ireland, was opened in Tymon Park, Tallaght, Dublin 24 in January 1993.



Year of foundation: 1945
President: Gerry Kelly
Secretary General: Bernard O`Byrne

Registered players:
- U18 Men: 4,439
- U18 Women: 5,910
- Senior Men: 4,392
- Senior Women: 2,244
Registered clubs: 224
Registered coaches: 297


Susan Moran (Ireland)
Susan Moran led Ireland in points, rebounds and assists at EuroBasket Women Division B 2009, but her team just missed out to win promotion to Division A.



1988 European Promotion Cup for Men: 2nd place
1989 European Promotion Cup for Women: 2nd place
1991 European Promotion Cup for Women: 2nd place
1993 European Promotion Cup for Women: 2nd place
1994 European Promotion Cup for Men: 1st place
1997 European Promotion Cup for Junior Women: 1st place
1999 European Promotion Cup for Junior Men: 2nd place



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