IRELAND captain Orla O’Reilly has re-signed with premiere Spanish basketball club CB Bembibre.
The 25-year-old from Cork has played professionally for the Division One club for the last three seasons and has been based in Murcia.
The club announced via its social media outlets on Monday that the 6ft 1” shooting guard had re-signed with them for the 2016/2017 season.
“I am proud to wear this shirt for another season. After three years, I am very happy here,” O’Reilly said.
“An important part about playing here is the support of the fans. Bembibre is a small town, but has one of the best interests of the Spanish Women’s League. With our style of play, I’m sure that next season fans will enjoy watching the team even more.”
Orla O’Reilly, right, in action for CB Bembibre, Spain.
O’Reilly first excelled on scholarship at Binghamton University in New York, and began her professional career in the Czech Republic with BK Lokomotiva Karlovy Vary in 2012. However a knee injury saw her return home early. The following summer at a coaching camp for elite athletes in Spain, O’Reilly — the younger sister of Blue Demons’ player-coach Colin — was spotted by Antonio ‘Chiqui’ Barros of CB Bembibre. Barros coached her for the last three seasons, however she will operate under new coach Aleksandra Stanacev,
O’Reilly was a key player for Team Ireland in the 3×3 competition at the Baku European Games last summer, where they lost to Russia in the quarter-finals, however their performance put Irish basketball back on the international map.
It is hoped that O’Reilly will stay injury-free ahead of June’s FIBA European Championships for small nations in Gibraltar, having fractured her hand late in the season this year, forcing her to miss a number of games for CB Bembibre.
“I missed a few games because of the injury, but now I have four months to work, improve and enjoy training again,” said O’Reilly, who averaged 25 minutes on court in 21 matches.
Under her former Glanmire coach, Mark Scannell, O’Reilly was named as captain of the international senior squad earlier this year, and Ireland will be expected to do well at the European Championships next month. However, they must first raise €10,000 to fund accommodation and travel expenses.