Ballincollig Basketball Club gunning for glory as they prepare for first game in the national league

Ballincollig Basketball Club gunning for glory as they prepare for first game in the national league
The Ballincollig Men's Division 1 National League basketball team at their open training session at Ballincollig Community School, with head coach Kieran O'Sullivan, front right, team manager Donal O'Sullivan, front left and supporters. Picture: David Keane.

O'Sullivan has played national league basketball at superleague level with UCC Demons in the past and was a star in this league when he played for Moycullen in Galway leading them to national titles.

His experience and knowhow will be vital particularly so in the first few weeks of the season as the team adjust to life at this new higher level of basketball. But the 24-year-old from Wilton, whose dad Kieran is the team coach, believes they are ready for the challenge and have enough quality and experience in their side to do very well.

He can't wait for the season to begin on Saturday at home to Donegal.

"We are playing LYIT Donegal on Saturday at 4pm in Ballincollig Community School and I am really looking forwrad to this," said Ronan.  "This is a must win game for us and I think we are ready for the challenge."

This will be the first time in the history of the club, that Ballincollig will play at this level and O'Sullivan believes it's a moment the club have been striving to reach for a long time.

"Playing National league is a massive move for the club. We have been aspiring to play at this level for a long time. 

"There is a great atmosphere around the club right now and we are all excited for the season ahead and for me to captain the side is a huge honour especially the fact it is our first season national league."

Ronan O'Sullivan. Picture: David Keane.
Ronan O'Sullivan. Picture: David Keane.

The prep has been done with a very tough pre season and O'Sullivan's aim of gaining promotion this year is achievable he believes.

"I expect us to be very competitive at this level right away.  It’s going to be difficult but I’ve confidence in our squad to do very well this season. 

"Pre-season has been very tough. Training three times a week where there has been a particular emphasis on strength and conditioning. 

"This is a new team with a lot of additions to last year’s team but we are all gelling really well. Our main aim is to improve continuously and reach our potential. 

"Winning a trophy in our first year would definitely be a success, however, our ultimate goal is to gain promotion to the Premier where we plan to be as a club long term."

The UCC Economics student states that the blend of youth and experience on the squad will be key to their performances this season.

"We have an ideal mix of youth and experience in our squad.  We have experienced Premier League players and Irish internationals in Ciarán (his cousin) and Daniel O’Sullivan (no relation). 

"Colin Murray will play a key role for us in the upcoming season with his sharp shooting. 

"Dylan Corkery and my brother, Daire O’Sullivan from our U20 team have played all through the ranks and both are underage internationals who will bring a wealth of experience. 

"Marris Brusivics from Lativia adds size at 6’ 6" and experience having previously played in the national league. 

"Pere Tres is a great addition for us who’s a Spainish point guard who is dynamic and was the best player in the Cork league last year.  Jimmy Puha is an athletic French guard who is very efficient at the defensive end. 

Jimmy Puha in action at Ballincollig Community School. Picture: David Keane.
Jimmy Puha in action at Ballincollig Community School. Picture: David Keane.

"For me, Ciaran O'Sullivan is a massive player for us. He has a very high knowledge of the game and empowers the younger players in the squad. 

"He has a great will to win which filters through the whole team.  Ciaran started playing basketball with Ballincollig from a very young age and left to go to UCC Demons where he was successful. 

"Everyone is happy to have him back and he has been a massive boost to the club. So overall, we feel we have got a great blend."

Garrett Blount gets his pass away. Picture: David Keane.
Garrett Blount gets his pass away. Picture: David Keane.

The Ballincollig captain knows that as well as on the court, it's what happens off it is equally as important to keep the club running from day to day, and he is quick to praise all of those involved.

"Our management have been working very hard on court and behind the scenes to get us ready for the upcoming season. 

"My father, Kieran O’Sullivan is the head coach and it’s great to have an ex Irish senior international on board who played at the highest level in Ireland for years. Donal O’Sullivan is our team manager who does a great job ensuring everything goes smooth. 

"However, the club couldn't survive without the funding we receive from so many companies.  Ballincollig has a big attachment area and there are a lot of new business. We are always looking for new sponsors. 

"We also get revenue from gate receipts and subscriptions to help fund our team. Generally, there has been great support and goodwill towards what we are doing and we are grateful for this. 

Exciting times for the club. 

"The committee have given huge backing and effort is untold especially from Marita Murphy and Colman O’Flynn. 

"The younger players want to strive to be better. Our U20 team is the pathway to the national league and players like Michael O’Sullivan and Jack Murphy coming through soon, so the future looks bright."

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