Basketball Ireland Centres of Excellence in Letterkenny IT and Waterford IT

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20 May 2021; Jay Kavanagh, centre, former Ireland U18 international & Waterford Vikings player, with, from left, Kate Hickey, former Ireland U18 international and Waterford Wildcats player, Michael Harrison, Head of Department of Sport and Exercise Science, WIT, Donna Drohan, Facilities and Events Manager, WIT Arena, Jillian Hayes, WIT Waterford Wildcats head coach, Michael Evans, WIT Waterford Wildcats and Osi Oshiogwemoh, former Ireland U16 international and Waterford Vikings National League player, at the Basketball Ireland Centre of Excellence announcement at Waterford IT in Waterford. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

Letterkenny IT and Waterford IT have been named as Basketball Ireland Centres of Excellence, bringing the total to four. In March NUI Galway and Ulster University in Jordanstown were the first two Centres of Excellence announced. Basketball Ireland plans to have 8-10 Centres of Excellence rolled out nationwide.

Michael Murphy, Letterkenny Institute of Technology Head of Sport, said: “Letterkenny IT is delighted to be partnering with Basketball Ireland in the provision of a Centre of Excellence for the region. This partnership strengthens our existing relationship and will contribute to the continued growth of the sport, both locally and nationally. By choosing LYIT as a base for its Centre of Excellence, Basketball Ireland recognises the sporting expertise and facilities available at LYIT to support basketball at all levels. This Centre of Excellence will build upon the great work of Basketball Ireland Development Officer, Niall McDermott, in developing the sport at LYIT and in the North West.”

Donna Drohan, Facilities and Events Manager at WIT Arena, said: “We are excited to strengthen our ties with Basketball Ireland in becoming their South East Centre of Excellence. Waterford IT and WIT Arena have strong basketball connections, with WIT Waterford Wildcats and WIT Waterford Vikings operating at Super League and National League level, respectively. The WIT Arena has hosted a number of Super League, National League and schools competitions. It is also home to WIT Vikings Basketball Club. To have Basketball Ireland as a recognised partner compliments our sporting portfolio and adds massively to the high-performance sporting culture that we are developing here at the WIT Arena.”

Each Centre of Excellence will provide access to expertise, such as strength and conditioning, sports medicine, sports psychology, diet and nutrition, sports management and administration, coach development and training. They will also have media and meeting facilities.

The Centres of Excellence will be used for national training camps for international sides, along with Basketball Ireland academies. There will also be the ability to host international fixtures, national senior competitions, intervarsity competitions, as well as local schools cups and blitzes.

Basketball Ireland CEO, Bernard O’Byrne, added “We are delighted to have both Letterkenny IT and Waterford IT on board as Basketball Ireland Centres of Excellence. Both institutions have great pedigrees in basketball and this reaffirms their commitment to the sport. We’ve pledged from the very start of this project to have Centres of Excellence the length and breadth of the country and we will have further announcements in the coming weeks.”

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