IRELAND'S U16 Boys head coach, Paul Kelleher, was delighted after his development squad finished third after a hugely successful trip to Meyssac/Veyrac, located in the Limousin region of France.
The development squad is a new addition to the international programme, allowing players who missed out on a place in the first team squad the opportunity to gain priceless inter-national experience.
Ireland got off to an excellent start in France, securing a 47-24 win over Avrillac, with Ross McCann scoring a healthy 10 points in the success.
Their next challenge was always going to be a tough proposition against a UCB side who entered the competition on the back of participating in the French National Championships. Despite Ireland boasting fine scoring performances from the likes of Michael Murray, Michael Deegan and McCann, it wasn't enough to prevent a 56-35 defeat.
Ireland's next meeting saw them face a physically dominating DYBA side and in particular a very imposing 6'8" centre.
Despite a slow start, Ireland managed to claw themselves back into the match largely due to the battling qualities of Nathan Dunne, Kyle Hilliard and Cian McGuinness. It was eventually to end in heartache, though, as the French side ran out winners on a scoreline of 30-22.
The experience of playing in this type of competition was becoming evident in the final quarter of their final game against Avrillac, the side they beat earlier in the competition.
As in other games, the scoring was spread throughout the team as Glen Williamson, Michael Deegan, David Mackin and Declan Manning all contributed to the cause as the Boys in Green finished the tournament in an honourable third place winning 52-28.
"This was a tremendous experience for the team as a whole," said head coach Paul Kelleher.
"This was a basketball weekend but it was a new cultural experience for these young men as they got to experience a new type of basketball but also experienced a different culture.
"With this team playing together for the first time I felt they showed tremendous character and desire and certainly gave credit to themselves, their parents, their club and school coaches and all involved can be very proud of themselves," he added.
"We had a very young team who equipped themselves tremendously and certainly gave their all. The players were very honest in their assessment and over the next number of weeks they will be working on their game to get better and to be ready to play Wales in July.
"I would like to thank the parents who made the long trip as they showed tremendous support all weekend," concluded Kelleher.