Maura Fitzpatrick has revealed her delight at being handed her first call-up to the Ireland squad for the upcoming FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2023 qualifiers.
Fitzpatrick qualifies for Ireland through her grandparents, and has been rewarded for her impressive form with Gloucester City Queens with a first call-up.
The former Wetterbygden Sparks player will be hoping to make her debut in Ireland’s qualifiers against Netherlands and Czech Republic.
“I am so excited. It’ll be my first time playing with them,” beamed Fitzpatrick. “It’s a great opportunity and such an honour. My grandparents are from Ireland, so I know it’ll make them very happy.”
Fitzpatrick’s ability to win fouls will also be a big reason as to why she’s been given a call-up – she is the second most fouled player in the league with 4.8 fouls committed against her per game, only behind Queens teammate Melita Emanuel-Carr.
Fitzpatrick revealed that she has been in contact with the Ireland coaching staff for some time about the possibility of a call-up to the squad.
“I’ve been talking with the Ireland coach for a while. The thing with playing for a national team is that you’re only allowed one nationalised player spot, so only player who wasn’t born in the country or got a passport after the age of 16. That spot has always been filled by another player.
“This year, the coach said that the player is getting a little bit older and felt that it’s a good opportunity to bring me in.
“I found out a lot earlier than when the news actually got released, so I’ve had to keep it quiet for a while! I’m so excited. The coach said to me, ‘do you want to do it?’ and I just said ‘hell yeah!'”
So, who did Fitzpatrick first tell when she received the news?
“I told my parents right away. I facetimed them and told them straight away. They were super happy and so excited for me. They’re going to fly to Ireland and watch me play.”