Belfast Telegraph

Basketball: Anna Maguire follows in footsteps of mum and dad

By David Kelly

Anna Maguire believes she was born to play basketball and little wonder as she is the daughter of former Irish internationals Gareth and Deirdre.

Next Tuesday, the 16-year-old will travel out as the sole representative from Northern Ireland on the Irish team heading to Estonia for the under-16 European championships.

The Ulidia Integrated College student, whose 13-year-old sister Enya is part of the Irish set-up being developed for next year's championships, is relishing the chance to take on some of Europe's best with Ireland having been drawn in the same group as Poland, Romania and Finland.

"I'm so excited about going to the championships, it's going to be a great experience and I believe we have the ability to get out of the group and into the top eight," said Anna.

"I normally play point guard which I enjoy but for the Ireland team I've been moved into the shooting guard position and that works well for the team."

Anna admits that basketball is in her blood and she is dreaming of making her way Stateside to continue her basketball career.

"My dream has always been to get a scholarship to an American college so I hope I can make that happen and then have a chance of going professional.

"I just love the sport and to be honest I can't imagine life without basketball. Basketball is my family, I grew up on basketball courts and I have met so many friends through the sport.

"The European championships are going to be a good challenge for everyone. We played Holland, Luxembourg and England recently and won some and lost some but all the matches were very competitive so we're feeling confident."

Mum Deirdre, who coaches at the Ulster Elks club were Anna, Enya and their 11-year-old sister Erin play, added: "I played at this level right through to senior level for Ireland so it's great for Gareth and I to see Anna and Enya coming through to represent Ireland at the highest level."

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