It has been a busy week for Ireland's underage basketball teams with a number of heartening performances to report.
Ireland's U16 Boys have been involved in preparation games against the Netherlands and Luxembourg ahead of their European campaign this summer.
Despite suffering defeats to both countries, the games should prove invaluable as they prepare to take on the might of England, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic and Belarus in their European Championship Boys Division B campaign.
"I'm very proud of my boys and they showed courage to attack the Dutch, who are a very good outfit," said Irish U16 Boys head coach Paul Kelleher.
"We have already showed signs of improvement and that is all we as a coaching staff can ask for.
"This is a great experience for us and we have already identified certain things we need to improve on."
Meanwhile, the Irish U16 Girls hosted the might of England in two preparation games at the National Basketball Arena and Oblate Hall last weekend.
On Saturday, the development squad gained plenty of experience in their 79-44 loss to an experienced English outfit preparing for their assault on the European Championships this summer.
"The team did a great job," said Irish U16 Girls head coach Dave Baker.
"It was a different level of basketball and the scoreline could have stretched out a little but they never let that happen which particularly pleased me.
"I am really happy for the players because they are up against a side that possess a lot of quality," he added.
"This sort of experience is priceless and I'm sure it will stand to each one of the players."
On Sunday, Ireland's U16 Women's squad were relentless in their quest for a victory against their English opponents.
Unfortunately, after a gruelling three quarters the girls in green suffered a 21-point defeat in front of a packed house at Oblate Hall.
Ireland's U18 Boys and Girls are nearing the end of their USA experience and the mixture of intense training and high quality games is sure to stand to them for the future.
Meanwhile, applications are now being accepted for Basketball Ireland's 27th National Cup which will culminate with the finals in the National Basketball Arena on the weekend of January 28, 29 and 30 in 2011.
Last year's competition was a huge success and made for a thrilling atmosphere in Neptune Stadium and the Parochial Hall, Cork on semi-final weekends in early January and indeed the grand finale at the National Basketball Arena later that month.
Please note that the closing date for applications for next season's National Cup is Monday August 2nd 2010.
For more information you can contact Competitions Officer Elaine Williams on 01-4590211 or email email@example.com.