Cork basketball giants UCC Demons are out of the SuperLeague though Neptune or Ballincollig could replace them

Cork basketball giants UCC Demons are out of the SuperLeague though Neptune or Ballincollig could replace them
Kyle Hosford of UCC Demons gets past Lawrence Summers of Black Amber Templeogue. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

CORK basketball powerhouse UCC Demons have withdrawn from Basketball Ireland's SuperLeague.

The storied northside club struggled to make an impact last season, though they avoided relegation from the top tier.

Earlier this decade they were the team to beat but since they halcyon days Shane Coughlan retired, Ciarán O'Sullivan returned to Ballincollig and Adrian O'Sullivan moved to play professionally, first in England and now in Germany.

Colin O'Reilly. Picture: Larry Cummins
Colin O'Reilly. Picture: Larry Cummins

Their highly-rated player-coach Colin O'Reilly stepped away recently, switching to Kerry outfit Killorglin, while his older brother Niall is in the latter stages of his career. 

It became clear in the recent weeks that they weren't going to be able to secure enough talent to mix it with the best in 2019-'20. It remains to be seen where their star point guard Kyle Hosford and veteran Carleton Cuff now end up.

The Blue Demons branch of the club will still compete locally and their underage section will include an U20 side at national level. Lately, Demons haven't produced the same calibre of basketballer as they once did but they have a brilliant Irish international in 19-year-old David Lehane.

Great rivals Neptune, who were relegated after a play-off at the end of last season, could benefit from Demons' woes as there is now a place up for grabs in next year's SuperLeague. Their young guns Darragh O'Sullivan and Cian Heaphy are set to move to play college ball in the US but Neptune will make a strong case to compete with the best.

Ballincollig narrowly missed out on promotion in the past two seasons in Division 1 as well as landing back-to-back President's Cups, so will also be contenders to replace Demons.

Ballincollig battling Neptune last year. Picture: Larry Cummins
Ballincollig battling Neptune last year. Picture: Larry Cummins

Both clubs would surely be keen to acquire the services of the likes of Hosford, Lehane and Cuff.

Basketball Ireland Chief Executive Bernard O'Byrne has extended an invite to clubs interested in playing Super League ball next season to indicate their interest by 5pm next Tuesday. The clubs must then make a presentation in the National Arena the following Monday.

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