CARLOW basketball player, Amy Dooley, achieved a life-time’s ambition when she earned her first senior international cup as she lined out for her country against Israel in the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket qualifier in Riga, Latvia on Thursday.
It should have been a career high for the much-honoured sports star but politics and sport became embroiled.
Amid accusations and counter accusations, the Irish team refused to shake hands with their Israeli opponents before the match, over accusations of antisemitism, as the two countries took to the court.
The story is far bigger than just a mere stand-off between two countries and in doing this interview, Dooley made it quite clear she was not willing to talk about the issues which manifested itself around her winning her first senior international match which Ireland lost 87-57.
Instead she spoke about the process which saw the former Old Leighlin and Carlow basketballer play for her country at the highest level.
“I was approached last Summer but I was away and couldn’t go. Then I was approached again last January,” she explained.
It was a big moment to be told she was included in the Irish panel of 12. With the season in full flow she just got on with her games with her Cork club, The Address, UCC Glanmire, in the National Cups and MissQuote.ie Superleague.
As the date for the game against Israel drew closer, the team went into camp in Latvia a week before the game.
Then the whole situation took a political direction as the Irish team struggled to focus on the game. Dooley did her best to enjoy the achievement of being selected.
“It was an honour. It was a dream when I was underage. Up to a year ago, I never thought it was possible. To actually put on the jersey was great. To see my improvement over the last few years was great,” she said.
While the game didn’t go Ireland’s way Dooley conceded that the two points she scored for her country against Israel was also a special moment.
“It is always good to get on, to get a score but it is a team sport at the end of the year,” she said.
“We stuck together and that really helped,” was as far as the Carlow international basketballer would go as she referred to a match which received international headlines.