The margin was only four when the final buzzer sounded but the bottom line was — there wasn’t going to be a trip to the National Basketball Arena at the most important stage of the season. That was a crushing disappointment for a side that appeared to be in the ascendancy.
The O’Sullivans’ sons Ciarán and Adrian won multiple trophies with UCC Demons, where their cousin Ronan also played, as did Daniel O’Sullivan, with Colin Murray spending time with Neptune. Ciarán and Ronan returned under the guidance of Ronan’s father Kieran — vastly experienced across his playing and coaching career — and the nucleus of a homegrown National League team was in place.
That’s not a concern this weekend of course. They are utterly focused on going back-to-back in the cup.
Ian McLoughlin — a former Neptune star who was underutilised by Killorglin when the Village upset the odds against them in last year’s cup decider — has a swagger about him again since his switch to Ballincollig. He’s scoring heavily, especially on the fast break.
In the medium term, the aim is to be a key stakeholder in a proposed new community centre.