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Hoops hopeful men's league withdrawal will be temporary measure for stalwarts of game

SHAMROCK ROVERS HOOPS are hopeful their decision to withdraw from the Nivea For Men's SuperLeague for the coming season will be a short-term measure, according to club chairperson Bride Saunders.

The famous Hoops announced last week that they had no other option but to rule themselves out of the coming championship season, largely due to economic reasons.

The news is a sad development for a team that has been participating in the Irish league for the past 15 years, with 11 of those years spent in the SuperLeague.

During that hugely successful time, the team has won four National Cup titles, one National League title and has been Basketball Ireland Club of the Year on four occasions.

On top of this, several players from the South Dublin club have gone on to represent their country on the international stage, from underage to senior level.

Several individuals have played a huge part in the club's history but Saunders, who founded the club in 1982, has played a pivotal role. While admitting it has been a heartbreaking decision to withdraw the Hoops, she is certainly in no mood to give up just yet.

"We tried everything to attract local sponsorship, pointing to the huge contribution that Shamrock Rovers HOOPS play in the locality, but unfortunately we were unsuccessful," said Saunders. "We obviously hope this is a temporary measure as it has been a huge honour to participate in the premier men's league in Ireland, and it is important for the long-term future of the club that we can participate at that level."

Meanwhile, Saunders is also keen to point out that last week's decision will not have an impact on their Fast Break tour schools' coaching programme.

"Our focus is on maintaining a club to play an important part in the life of our community and encouraging young adults to participate in healthy sporting activities," she added.

"This is evident by our commitment in continuing our Fast Break tour schools' coaching programme."

The Fast Break Tour, which sees players visit a school for one day, was developed by Bride and former player-coach Anthony Jenkins back in 1998.

The programme impacts around 30,000 children and the club has ensured that this activity will be as strong as ever in the years to come.