New book on Neptune basketball tracks the history of one of Cork's great clubs

New book on Neptune basketball tracks the history of one of Cork's great clubs

Author and club president Jim O’Donoghue pictured with Neptune Basketball chairman Paul Barrett and former chairman Billy Kelly in Neptune Stadium. Picture: Howard Crowdy

THE O’Donoghue family has been the backbone of Neptune Basketball Club from the day it was formed.

Brothers Donal, Leo, and Jim have been key members of the club over the years. Jim has just released a book Gods by the Lee about his memories of Neptune teams from the past the present day.

Jim dedicated the book to his brother Donal, in a lovely introduction on the first page.

“To Donal, my brother, whose dedication to Neptune from its foundation in 1947 right up to his death in 2018, aged 90 years, never faltered. At the end of his days, suffering from Alzheimer’s, one of the surest ways of getting a reaction from him should be to whisper, “we are playing the Southern Command in Collins Barracks tonight”.

“A big smile and a brightening of the eyes was sure to follow. His love of the club was unsurpassed.”

Donal O’Donoghue was a founder member of Neptune in 1947. He had a great vision for the club, that brought them from Micheal Finn’s backyard to the outdoor court of the New School and eventually to the Neptune Stadium.

He played and coached, but it was at committee level where he shone. He was a driving force behind the club and a calming influence too. He served on many Cork, Munster and National Boards from the 1950s to 1990s.

He would have been seen regularly walking around the Stadium watching the young players training, giving advice, and he left a great legacy.

Leo O’Donoghue joined Neptune in the early 1950s. He also played for the Cork senior team on numerous occasions, winning All-Ireland titles in the 1960s. Leo also coached and filled different positions on club committees. From 2000, he was treasurer and chairman for four years, overseeing a big upgrade in the Stadium.

Jim O’Donoghue pictured with his book ‘Gods by the Lee - My Basketball Memories’ in Neptune Stadium. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Jim O’Donoghue pictured with his book ‘Gods by the Lee - My Basketball Memories’ in Neptune Stadium. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Jim O’Donoghue’s first taste of basketball was in 1947 when he was a ball boy for his older brother Donal and friends in Barry Place. He quickly caught the bug and began playing with Neptune.

He played and coached at every level. There was no job too small for Jim who served in every position at committee level for close to 50 years, 16 as secretary, and recently as president. He was also a basketball referee.

He worked tirelessly for the club bingo and his drive and passion is the same since he picked up his first basketball. He still spends many days sorting out bingo books, advising, and supporting the club he loves.

He released his book Gods By The Lee with help from his daughter Niamh.

It’s very entertaining and gives a great account of the very early days with some very funny stories, and on to the glory days of the 1980s and 1990s. Neptune also had very successful ladies teams which offers an insight of how the Ladies Country Board was formed.

For all basketball followers, this is definitely a Christmas stocking filler.

This book can be bought in Vibes and Scribes in Cork, on Amazon or by contacting: godsbythelee@gmail.com.

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