New season confirmed for Cork clubs Neptune, Ballincollig and Fr Mathew's 

New season confirmed for Cork clubs Neptune, Ballincollig and Fr Mathew's 
Tradehouse Central Ballincollig's, Jack Kelly battling Neptune when the clubs met in Division 1 two seasons ago. Picture: Gavin Browne

NEPTUNE, Fr Mathew's and Tradehouse Central Ballincollig basketball clubs will begin their seasons on October 17-18.

Neptune and newly-promoted Ballincollig are Super League outfits for 2020-'21, while Fr Mathew's are in Division 1. The southside club, now based on the Model Farm Road, could yet be joined by a Blue Demons team in the second tier of Irish basketball. 

Demons opted out last season but have been exploring rejoining the national tier to offer an outlet for their young players coming through.

Basketball Ireland today revealed the leagues will be split into north and south conferences to minimise travel for clubs. Those groups will be confirmed on Friday, with teams playing home and away in their conference and once against teams from the other conference. The same format was used in Division in 2018-'19.

The top two from each conference will make the semi-finals.

Belfast Star pipped Tralee Warriors to last season's Super League crown after controversy when the Kerry side were docked points in a dispute over player registration.

Tradehouse Central Ballincollig were unbeaten in Division 1 and also completed three in a row of President's Cups.

In a post-Covid world, basketball faces a challenge in catering for players at training and in hosting games with limits on numbers allowed gather indoors. Many clubs also use secondary schools for training and matches, from underage to the elite level.

Details have yet to be confirmed about the women's divisions; Cork clubs Glanmire, Brunell and Fr Mathew's were Women's Super League competitors last season. 

"The new conference system in both the Super League and Division 1 was unanimously agreed by the clubs," said Basketball Ireland CEO Bernard O'Byrne.

"This will help ease the financial burden on clubs, who continue to deal with the fallout from Covid-19. The playoffs will also bring an exciting climax to the league season.

"We can also now look forward to the traditional start date of the basketball season, following the government's recent decision to accelerate its roadmap and the reduction in phases."

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