Dayna Finn in action against Estonia today.

Mayo player stars as youthful Ireland defeat Estonia in basketball friendly

A clinical young Ireland team featuring six debutantes showed experience beyond their years as they dispatched a higher ranked Estonia team 70-56 in the first of the two-game Gotham Drywall Series at the National Basketball Arena this evening (Saturday).

Mayo native Dayna Finn starred for Ireland, scoring 12 points as she brought her big game experience to the youthful side.

Elsewhere, the imposing figure of Bridget Herlihy showing exactly why head coach James Weldon identified her as a key performer in this window. The Malmo Basket player ended with a game-high 20 points.

Weldon will be delighted with the poise and tenacity shown by his team, who were without one of their leading players, Claire Melia, for a contest that played in front of a lively crowd in Tallaght.

The head coach said: “We just talked a little bit beforehand about playing without fear and they all certainly stepped up to the mark tonight, the ones who made their debuts. It gives us a huge selection headache now and that’s a good thing.

"We were dealing with a lot of injuries but with that gives opportunity for new faces, but this is where we want to be. We want to be building a squad that if we have one or two injuries we can cover it, so I’m delighted with the performance and the win.

“There’s obviously a couple of things to work on and improve before the second game, but this is a very good Estonia team. They beat Great Britain in their last series and we know they’ll come out tomorrow in Oblate Hall looking to level the series, and that’s something we have to be ready for as a group.”

It’s a welcome display from an Ireland team who are continuing to prepare for a FIBA EuroBasket qualifier with the Netherlands this November.

For now though, all eyes turn to tomorrow evening’s second game against Estonia, which takes place at Oblate Hall, Inchicore, at 4 p.m.

Ireland: Michelle Clarke, Dayna Finn (12), Rachel Huijsdens (7), Edel Thornton (7), Sarah Kenny, Mia Furlong (5), Aine O’Connor, Maeve Phelan, Ella O’Donnell, Bronagh Power-Cassidy (8), Enya Maguire (11), Bridget Herlihy (20).

Estonia: Maarja Grunmann (2), Victoria Ida Vahi, Sofia Kosareva (8), Anastasia Ptitsona (3), Helena Svilberg (8), Mailis Pokk (11), Maaja Bratka (2), Martha Liisa Oinits, Greeta Uprus (5), Anette Elisabeth Adler, Janne Pulk (14), Ellen Anett Poldmaa (3).