One daughter playing elite level college basketball in America is something to be proud of, but former Irish internationals Gareth and Deirdre Maguire now have two after Enya signed for Houston Baptist University.
Enya (19) will team up with 22-year-old sister Anna to play Division One NCAA Championship basketball for the Texas outfit after securing a scholarship following a year at Princeton Prep school.
The Irish Under-20 international followed the same path as Anna with a year at Princeton Prep laying down a solid foundation which led to three university options on the table.
Ultimately, Enya couldn’t turn down the opportunity of playing alongside her sibling – the first time two Northern Ireland sisters have enjoyed such an opportunity.
“I’m so excited to get this chance. Ever since Anna got the chance to play Division One college basketball, it has been my mission to do it. It’s a dream opportunity,” said Enya, who has represented Ireland at Under-16 and Under-18 level.
“Mum and dad have been very supportive throughout. They never pushed us, it was all about us and what we enjoyed and I’ve always loved the sport.
“It’ll be great to have two years playing with Anna and who knows where it could lead. It’s just great to have a chance to play at the highest level in American college basketball.
“Going to the Prep school to play was different because I had to adapt to a different style of basketball but because I had played national league here I was used to playing against older girls, some who had gone through the American system, so the Prep school level was probably a drop down. But now that will change with the college basketball.
“Usually at this point I would be looking forward to European basketball with Ireland in the summer but now because of the coronavirus we have to do our best to stay in shape at home. Thankfully we have a basketball net and can work on dribbling and shooting.”
Sister Anna has been able to pass on any advice needed as to what to expect as she spent two years in college basketball with St Peter’s University in New York before moving to Houston last summer.
Due to the regulations the 22-year-old had to sit out a year, while maintaining her full-time training with the college and studying an international business degree.
Anna, who earned her first Irish senior international cap last summer on the back of a glittering under-age career, is naturally delighted that Enya will be joining her in Houston and even hopes that sister Erin (17) will one day make it a hat-trick of Maguires in the Huskies outfit.
“It’s possible that we could all play for a year together – that would be really extra special,” said Anna, who is hoping that her experience in Houston could one day lead to a professional career.
“I’ve got two more years and then we’ll see what happens. I would really love the chance to play professional basketball in either Europe or Australia.
“There’s no set plan, I’ll just see what opportunities open up.
“I feel I’m very lucky that I really grew up on the basketball court, watching my mum coach in the Superleague and my dad playing.
“I was always there and it was just natural to be around the sport. Going to America was something that I wanted to do from I was very young and to be living that out is so exciting.
“I had a great time in New York and moving to Texas I was a bit nervous because it feels like a different world but the people are so friendly and I know Enya is going to really enjoy it.
“We have a great programme here, the coaches are very keen to make sure that the players are happy off the court as well as on it. Our head coach Donna Finnie is actually from Scotland.
“Getting to play together will be great… the three of us are very, very competitive and I’m sure we’ll continue to push ourselves on.”
Content Credited to the Belfast Telegraph and David Kelly
Schools glory: Enya and Anna Maguire celebrate All Ireland under-19 Cup success with Ulidia Integrated Carrickfergus along with dad Gareth in 2016