Ballincollig basketball stalwart Kieran O'Sullivan on his hoop dreams

More interested in athletics and soccer as a child, he didn't start on the hardwood until he linked up with the North Mon as a teen
Ballincollig basketball stalwart Kieran O'Sullivan on his hoop dreams

Kieran O'Sullivan, currently the coach of Tradehouse Central Ballincollig, has spent a lifetime immersed in basketball.

KIERAN O’SULLIVAN was a latecomer when he started his basketball career over 40 years ago when he joined the North Mon Basketball Club as a 14-year-old boy.

However, he is still strutting his stuff on the hardwood playing with some of his old teammates playing in numerous masters events.

O’Sullivan is also well known in coaching circles, as Tradehouse Central Ballincollig’s Men’s Super League head coach with his nephew Ciaran for the last number of years.

Tradehouse Central Ballincollig coach Kieran O'Sullivan, his nephew and captain Ciaran O'Sullivan, and Francis O'Sulivan after winning the Division 1 title in 2020. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Tradehouse Central Ballincollig coach Kieran O'Sullivan, his nephew and captain Ciaran O'Sullivan, and Francis O'Sulivan after winning the Division 1 title in 2020. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

In his younger days, he was better known for his running skills with the North Mon Primary School and Togher AC. He also played soccer for Shandon View and Castleview, before his brother Francis persuaded him to try his hand at basketball with the Mon. His amazing hoops journey then started with his coach Conny Daly.

“It’s funny really how I started playing basketball.

“When I was in Primary School in the North Mon I was only interested in athletics. I ran for the school from the age of six and could run short or long distances. I soon joined Togher AC and ran in a lot of competitions for them and was very successful.

“I then joined Shandon View soccer club when I was 12. Some of the amazing friends I made at that club are Jerry Kelly, Noel Raftery and the late John ‘Dinnybobs’ McCarthy.

“I moved to Castleview two years later with Dinnybobs and played with Pat Drummond and Curls Murphy. I have great memories at Castleview, especially the seven aside tournament’s in the Parochial Hall and our managers at the time were the legends Timmy Flynn and Seanie O’Leary.

“My brother Francis was playing basketball with the North Mon and he kept asking me to come down and see if I liked the game. From the first day I arrived at the outdoor court in the school I have never looked back.

My first coach was Conny Daly who was ahead of his time in terms of drills and organisation. 

"We had a very good team with Joe Hoare, Bobby Kelleher, Colin O’Sullivan, Micheal ‘Ba’ O’Sullivan and Mark Scannell leading us to a Billy Kelly Tournament victory.”

STEPPING UP

He moved up to play with the Mon National League team in 1987 to under coach Liam O’Connell. The following year he joined Blue Demons and won the National League title with them with players of the caliber of American Jasper McElroy, Paul Fitzgerald, William ‘Mono’ McCarthy, and Timmy McCarthy.

O’Sullivan was on the move again three years later when he joined Tralee Tigers to play for follow Cork men Pat Lucey and Timmy McCarthy.

“I only played with the Mon National League team for a year before I joined Blue Demons where I played for a four-year period.

“I was lucky to win the National League title in 1988 and in my opinion, played with one of the best big men that play the game in Paul Fitzgerald.

The Dawn Milk Blue Demons side in 1990 who won the league title. Backr: Peter Coughlan, Geoff Barrett, manager, Briain Burke, Kieran O'Sullivan, Diarmuid Looney, Jasper McElroy, Paul Fitzgerald, John Cooney, coach, Dommie Mullins, assist manager, Finbarr Manning. Front: Francis O'Sullivan, Timmy McCarthy, William McCarthy, Tony Foley, Kieran O'Leary, Mark Scannell.
The Dawn Milk Blue Demons side in 1990 who won the league title. Backr: Peter Coughlan, Geoff Barrett, manager, Briain Burke, Kieran O'Sullivan, Diarmuid Looney, Jasper McElroy, Paul Fitzgerald, John Cooney, coach, Dommie Mullins, assist manager, Finbarr Manning. Front: Francis O'Sullivan, Timmy McCarthy, William McCarthy, Tony Foley, Kieran O'Leary, Mark Scannell.

“I also played with the national team and under coach Danny Fulton for a two-year period. I had to move to America to work after my stint with Demons but came back after two years to marry my wife Fiona and we have three amazing sons Ronan, Daire and Micheal.”

He then received a call from Pat Lucey to see if he would like to play for him in Tralee.

“I didn’t have to think twice and I must say I played my best basketball down in Tralee. Timmy McCarthy came in the following year and we won the League with Vinnie Murphy, Gerry Galgey, John Teahan and American Rick Leonard who were all excellent players.

Kieran O'Sullivan, red, in action for Tralee. Picture: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO
Kieran O'Sullivan, red, in action for Tralee. Picture: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

“I then joined Ballincollig two years later to play and coach and I’m a fixture there ever since.”

O’Sullivan started playing masters over 10 years ago playing with some of his friends he played with in Tralee called the Trail Blazers. They have played in masters tournaments all over the country winning many of those competitions.

Last year, they lost the Over 50 National Cup to Portlaoise but won the Dublin Masters a few months later.

“I started playing masters basketball in the Neptune tournament. I played that tournament with some of the Kerry boys John Teahan, Rick Leonard, Brian Clernon who played with Demons and Dean Kavanagh from Waterford.

“It’s amazing that 10 years later we are still playing. It was social basketball at the start but now it’s very competitive today with so many players still playing in their local leagues.”

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