Fan-tastic... it was another bumper weekend of basketball on Leeside

Fan-tastic... it was another bumper weekend of basketball on Leeside
Part of the large crowd attending the Friday night game in Neptune. Picture: Larry Cummins

IT was a weekend to remember for basketball fans on Leeside with another successful staging of the National Cup semi-finals at the Mardyke Arena and Neptune Stadium.

When cup basketball comes to Leeside there is always a special feeling amongst basketball players and fans and it all began on Friday with the Women’s Paudie O’Connor semi-final between Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell and Fr Mathew’s.

Thankfully I have been involved in the sport for over 50 years and I can remember attending the first National Cup game between Burgerland Neptune and St Vincent’s Dublin at the Blackpool venue in 1985. Times have changed since that famous day but one trait that’s thankfully hasn’t is the number of people who converge on this famous venue for major basketball games.

Brunell fans Bridie O'Halloran and grandson Jamie O'Halloran. Picture: Larry Cummins
Brunell fans Bridie O'Halloran and grandson Jamie O'Halloran. Picture: Larry Cummins

Since the foundation of Brunell basketball club they have slowly built up a fabulous and loyal fan base on Cork’s Northside and they came in their hundreds for their clash with Fr Mathew’s.

Former Blue Demons player and coach Tim O’Halloran was this season brought in to replace Francis O’Sullivan who stepped away from the position after two years at the helm.

The one skill that O’Halloran has with players is to get them believing in their ability to win games and that was shown in the win over Fr Mathew’s.

Niamh Dywer, Fr Mathew's, defends against Danielle O'Leary. Picture: Larry Cummins
Niamh Dywer, Fr Mathew's, defends against Danielle O'Leary. Picture: Larry Cummins

In the end, O’Halloran got his tactics spot on but in reality, Fr Mathew’s individualism came back to haunt them.

At the final buzzer, the sight of the Brunell main sponsor Tomas Singleton smiling with his son Jack and brother Adrian was a special moment.

Remember sponsorship is usually has a short life span but Tomas has remained loyal to Brunell over the past 10 years and at long last, he will have his day in the capital with a team competing at the top level of Irish basketball in a cup final.

A delighted Madelyn Ganser with team sponsors Jack and Tomas Singleton, James Radford, and Adrian Singleton. Picture: Larry Cummins
A delighted Madelyn Ganser with team sponsors Jack and Tomas Singleton, James Radford, and Adrian Singleton. Picture: Larry Cummins

On Saturday morning the young U20 Men’s team of Neptune demolished a highly rated Templeogue side and will now face Dublin Lions in the decider.

Credit to all concerned at Neptune but players like Darragh O’Sullivan, Cian Heaphy and the Hannigan twins Scott and James are highly talented athletes and I have no doubt they will win the final in a canter.

Neptune's Scott Hannigan gets off his pass from Templeogue's Mark Gilleran. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Neptune's Scott Hannigan gets off his pass from Templeogue's Mark Gilleran. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The other Cork winners at the Neptune Stadium were Ballincollig in the President’s Cup semi-final, who drew a fine crowd to their hammering of Limerick Celtics, and Fr Mathew’s in the Women’s NICC last-four clash with Glanmire.

Ciarán O'Sullivan, Tradehouse Central Ballincollig, dishes a no-look pass. Picture: Larry Cummins
Ciarán O'Sullivan, Tradehouse Central Ballincollig, dishes a no-look pass. Picture: Larry Cummins

The Mardyke Arena on Saturday night attracted the biggest crowd ever at this venue for a basketball game for the game between Tralee Warriors and Killester.

Finally, the one good thing about Cork basketball is the people because at the end of the day it takes two to tango and on Leeside when it comes to organisation nobody does it better.

Roll on Tallaght in two weeks!

Brunell fans chat with mascot 'Nellie the Elephant'. Picture: Larry Cummins
Brunell fans chat with mascot 'Nellie the Elephant'. Picture: Larry Cummins

More in this section

Sponsored Content