Basketball Ireland has confirmed that the new Irish domestic basketball season will begin on September 18 with the men’s National League, while the women’s National League follows two weeks later, starting on October 2.
The Men’s National League Committee (MNCC) has also announced that Cork’s UCC Demons will be competing in Division One next season, a return to the National League after sitting out the 2019/20 season.
Belfast Star are the defending Super League champions having won the 2019/20 crown, but with no season this year, the club has been forced to wait to make the defence of their crown.
“It’s great to have a club of the calibre of UCC Demons back in the National League and their application to rejoin was unanimously approved by the MNCC," said Basketball Ireland CEO and chair of the MNCC, Bernard O’Byrne.
"We’re excited for the return of the National League after the Covid-enforced hiatus last season.
"The men’s teams will get a chance to fine tune their preparations for the National League with a special ‘Summer Tournament’, which will begin on July 31 and end on September 4.”
A pre-season tournament will also take place for women’s National League clubs. The ‘WNLC Women’s Series’ will start on August 28 and run to September 18. T
he WNLC has also confirmed that the women’s Super League will be a regular league, with home and away games.
The women’s Division One will be split into two conferences, the five-team North Conference will contain LYIT, Phoenix Rockets, Swords Thunder and Ulster University Tigers.
The six-team South Conference will have Limerick Celtics, NUIG Mystics, Portlaoise Panthers, St Paul’s Killarney, Tipperary Knights and UL.
Teams will play on a home and away basis in their respective conferences, with either a home or away cross-conference game against teams from the opposite conference.
Chair of the WNLC, Breda Dick, added: “This is a significant step for the return of our sport by revealing our season start date.
"A lot of work has been put in by clubs over the last year to 15 months to prepare for a return and that will now accelerate. We’re really looking forward to finally having some sort of normality and getting back on the court.”
Full competition details for the men’s and women’s pre-season tournaments will be revealed in due course.