A Tipperary man is assistant coach to the most successful Irish basketball team ever.
Killenaule’s Niall Berry was a key member of the backroom team to the side that reached the final of FIBA U18 Women’s European Championships.
In the final, Ireland lost to an outstanding German side but their progress has seen promoted to play Division A basketball, the first Irish team to do soat any level.
Ireland topped Group D unbeaten with wins against Macedonia (89-43), Slovakia (84-46), Moldova (116-25), Great Britain (63-49) and Ukraine (77-57).
They defeated Israel in the quarter final 60-55 before progressing past Poland in the Semi Final by 68-57.
Their unbeaten streak finally came to an end in the final as they lost out 67-43 to Germany.
Niall Berry is from Ballinure, just outside Killenaule. He attended Scoil Ruain in Killenaule and completed his Leaving Cert in 2002.
He has just finished an Honours Degree in Waterford I.T in Sports Coaching & Performance. Last year, he spent 8 months (as part of his placement) in Orlando coaching in ‘Hoops Life’ basketball development centre. This facility is run by former Irish and NBA player Pat Burke. He returned to take up the position of Assistant Coach with the Ireland U-18 girls team before their history making run to the European Final.
Before going in to coaching, Niall played basketball with the Tipp Talons and WIT Waterford Wildcats. He moved into coaching in schools around Tipperary and Waterford including the Ursuline in Thurles, Scoil Ruain in Killenaule and Presentation Ballingarry.
Niall has also played hurling at all levels for Killenaule GAA and won a County U21 A hurling medal in 2004 with the club.
He begins employment in the ‘Hoops Life’ basketball development centre in Orlando in October.