O’Sullivan brothers flying the Cork basketball flag in the United States

O’Sullivan brothers flying the Cork basketball flag in the United States
Coach Tom O'Sullivan with his sons Conor and Darragh at the Big Stuff basketball camp run in 2011. Picture: Denis Minihane.

CORK’S O’Sullivan brothers, Darragh and Conor are currently treading the hardwood in the United States with both doing very well and making a names for themselves.

Conor is playing with Birmingham Southern College in Alabama, while Darragh is playing at Winchendon Prep School in Northern Massachusetts.

The O’Sullivan’s are sons of former Bugerland great Tom, and are doing him, his wife Betty, and family proud with their exploits. Both brothers played all their club basketball with Neptune winning multiple National Cups, and many other trophies.

They played their school basketball with Coláiste Choilm in Ballincollig also winning back-to-back All-Ireland titles in a very successful period of their careers.

Darragh also represented the Irish National team at U16, U18 and U20 level.

Conor, who is the older brother, is now in his second year with Birmingham College, and he is enjoying his experience.

“I loving life over here as it is a lot different from at home for all different reasons,” Conor O’Sullivan said.

“I was playing with Neptune at the age of six years of age until I was 20, and is where I made a lot of friendships for life.

Conor O'Sullivan, Neptune, in action against Pere Tres, Ballincollig, in 2018. Picture: Larry Cummins
Conor O'Sullivan, Neptune, in action against Pere Tres, Ballincollig, in 2018. Picture: Larry Cummins

“It was there I met Ian Thom, who was playing with the club as their Scholar with the Sports Changes Life program. We became great friends as he would come to my house most weekends for dinner.

“His father Bill was on the coaching staff with BSC and I was invited out there to work out and things happened quickly got all the paperwork done which I was very grateful.

“We play in the Southern Athletic Association, and as of right now we still have one game in the regular season before we start the play-offs.

“We are currently 8-16 overall, and 4-9 in Conference.

“We didn’t have a great start to the campaign, however, we’re on a three-game winning streak at the moment so hopefully, the momentum will carry us into the play-offs.

“I am averaging 8.6 points a game 3.1 assist’s a game which I’m happy with, but there’s always room for improvement.

“This is my second year now, so I find thing easier this year as I got homesick a lot last year. Living out of home you realise how lucky were things at home, as my mam used do everything for me.

“Some people take that stuff for granted, and only when you have to do things for yourself its then you respect everything our parents do for us.

Conor O'Sullivan playing for Coláiste Choilm against St Aidan's CBS. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Conor O'Sullivan playing for Coláiste Choilm against St Aidan's CBS. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

“I’ve got used to people saying 'What?' every time I speak as it took time for them to get used to my accent.

“I don’t have any real plans for the future as I’m just concentrating on finishing the season strong for my college. I suppose the main goal is to graduate, and see where its takes me from there.

“I want to continue to play basketball for as long as I can, wherever that is. I just want to play as long as possible.

“I suppose the biggest thing I miss from home is my mam, as I’m definitely a mammy’s boy! I talk to her everyday on Facetime so that’s helps me a lot, and her.

Conor O’Sullivan with his proud parents Tom, Betty and his aunt Hester before one of his games in Birmingham Southern in America.
Conor O’Sullivan with his proud parents Tom, Betty and his aunt Hester before one of his games in Birmingham Southern in America.

“I miss my dad as well I suppose,” Conor said with a smile.

“I also miss the rest of my family and friends, and thank them for all the support they game me since I came over here.

“I think I have really improved as a person and player since I came over here.

“It has made me a much stronger person as I have do a lot of things for myself here, and balancing school work with basketball can be difficult in another country.

“My team train everyday, and I got a lot stronger from lifting weights, and doing individual workouts.

“We get a shot chart at the start of the year, and we are to shoot 10,000 shots before the first training session.

“I’ve also learnt so much from the coach’s here as before every game you get a very detailed scouting report on the opposing team.

“It’s also easier to improve when you train everyday in comparison to twice or three times a week when I was at home,” Conor added.

Darragh was a relatively late bloomer as he only started playing competitive basketball when he was 11.

“I really didn’t play organised basketball until U11, and I was lucky to with and make a lot of lifetime friends in Neptune and Coláiste Choilm School.

“The one person I would like to thank is coach Noel Allen just having him around, to work out, when you needed advice, and give you a kick in the backside when needed,” Darragh said

“I’m playing in Winchendon prep school in Northern Massachusetts. We are in the AA in the NEPSAC which is in the second highest League in New England.

Darragh O’Sullivan in action for Winchendon Prep School in Northeastern Massachusetts in America.
Darragh O’Sullivan in action for Winchendon Prep School in Northeastern Massachusetts in America.

“We were doing well before the Christmas break, but were struggling a bit at the moment.

“We are now seventh in our conference which will give us a play-off spot, and hopefully, we can make a run for the championship.

“I adjusted to life i the States pretty well so far. I made some really close friends on my team which made the transition a little smoother here.

The one thing I will have to get used to is the snow that we get here, as you can go to bed and it’s clear and wake up the next morning to be four feet of snow.

”My plans for the future is to finish the season out strong, and try win a Championship.

“I’m lucky to have just accepted a full Scholarship at Florida Tech which is a Division 2 School coached by ex-Neptune coach Billy Mims.

“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity as it gives me a chance to improve as a player and get to study for four years.

“I was lucky to play with the Irish teams in different programs from U16 to U20, and would love to continue to do so at senior level. I hope one day money isn’t the factor as when it come to playing at the level, that it's a chance to showcase your talent, and I think Basketball Ireland are taking the right steps right now."

Neptune's Darragh O'Sullivan shoots against Templeogue. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Neptune's Darragh O'Sullivan shoots against Templeogue. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The one thing he really misses from home is his family. 

“It’s only when you don’t have them around you realise how much they do for you, how much you love them.

“Another thing I miss is my mam’s cooked meals as you can’t beat a home cooked dinner.

“I was lucky enough to get home for a few days at Christmas which was great, as I got to spend time with my parents, family and friends which was great.

Neptune's Darragh O'Sullivan with his parents after the U20 Cup victory. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Neptune's Darragh O'Sullivan with his parents after the U20 Cup victory. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“Unfortunately, my parents haven’t been able to make it over to me yet, but they get to watch my games online when they can.

“I think my game has greatly improved as we play at a faster pace that in the Super League back home.

“Over here you have to be able to react , and play off instinct,” Darragh concluded.

What ever journey these boys will take I will think they will be successful as they are two very humble and honest young men.

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