Belfast Telegraph

Maguire girls are courting success just like parents

By David Kelly

When your father and mother have both represented Ireland, it's maybe not that surprising that basketball is in the genes, but the Maguire girls are certainly capitalising on it in fine fashion.

Gareth Maguire, who founded the Sport Changes Life Foundation along with wife Deirdre, not only donned the Irish shirt but also won the All Ireland Superleague title with Belfast Star in the mid-1990s, and now daughters Anna, Enya and Erin are showing their prowess on the court.

All three have managed to represent Ireland, while 17-year-old Anna has recently travelled to the States where she is enjoying a basketball scholarship for a year at Princeton Preparatory ahead of going to university.

Mum Deirdre, a lecturer at the University of Ulster Jordanstown, looks back on a busy summer with pride after all three represented Ireland and ahead to a time when her daughters will possibly wear the Irish shirt at senior level.

"Anna's on a gap year at Princeton Prep, it's a great experience for her. She has already secured a course at Loughborough University so that is a possibility for her but I know she would love to stay for another four years in the States and play NCAA basketball," said Deirdre.

"She has been really enjoying her time at Princeton - just being able to walk into the gym every day and work hard at her game.

"She captained the Irish Under-18 team at the European Championships in Sarejevo and they qualified for the Elite 8 which was the first time that Ireland have managed that, so it was a great event for them."

On the back of Anna's success with Ireland, it was then the turn of her sisters to enjoy the international stage, with Enya competing at the European Under-16 Championships in Romania.

"Enya was part of the Irish team that finished sixth - the best finish ever by an Irish side," said Deirdre.

"The previous year they were seventh and they went one better... she also finished second on assists for the whole tournament which was great.

"Erin is just 13 but she represented Ireland against Luxembourg in the Under-15 team and they won all their Under-15 games so it was a hectic but great summer for the girls.

"I think it was inevitable they would play basketball, they grew up around it - when Gareth was playing for Star and then when he came out of retirement to represent the Ulster Elks when we were in the Superleague - it's always been there.

"But they also love the sport and they are working very hard and getting the rewards."

Belfast Telegraph


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