THE introduction of a revamped Energywise Ireland Neptune side this season has been a refreshing sight for many basketball fans across the county.
This year, the support for the club spans across the Atlantic with three former juvenile stars continuing their own basketball careers stateside at various universities.
Darragh O’Sullivan begins his third year at Florida Tech where he has seen a rise in playing time already through the team’s first eight games.
“We’ve started off well with two really good wins in South Carolina against Benedict and AUM.
“We were able to carry that momentum back to Florida where we got our first conference win of the year against a tough St Leo side on the road.
“It was huge for us to start off strong in our league as it’s a very competitive conference.”
O’Sullivan left a decorated club career behind him in 2019 when he moved to Massachusetts to complete a post-graduate year at The Winchendon School.
The 22-year-old is now a regular contributor for a successful side in the NCAA Division II and will be eager to help them reach the highest heights that college basketball has to offer.
“We’re an older team with a lot of international players, many of whom played in European Championships at all different levels.
“Since leaving Ireland I think my game has matured a lot.
“I’ve been put in uncomfortable positions that forced me to grow and get better as a player.”
Former teammates, Eli Lenihan and Sean McCarthy are starting their sophomore seasons at Spring Hill College and Felician University.
A run of narrow defeats has dampened the beginning of Lenihan’s second year in Alabama after he was hurled into the limelight as a first-year starter a season previous.
The SMGS Blarney graduate handled the pressure excellently, gradually earning his spot back this year behind new and returning players.
“The first few games of the season have been heartbreakingly close, losing our first conference game to Albany State at the buzzer and losing to Fort Valley State by single digits.
“I think that we are much more experienced this year as opposed to last year.
“We had five freshmen playing heavy minutes throughout last year, which definitely will stand to our team this year, as we all feel more prepared for what is up ahead.”
McCarthy has continued to contribute in New Jersey with his side looking to build on last year’s conference championship.
A solid start to the season sees the Golden Falcons soar around the middle of the pack with a 3-3 record as they begin to mount their CACC title defence over the coming weeks.
“We have lost some big players since last season but the new additions to our roster have settled very well and are making a positive contribution to the team.
“Everyone is pushing each other as we know the standards required to match the success of last year.”
All three former members of the Leeside outfit have thoroughly enjoyed keeping up with senior team action from overseas.
“I try to watch as many games as I can online,” began McCarthy. “It’s great to see the team doing well and the crowds returning to Neptune Stadium.”
Lenihan has loved keeping up with the club’s success, “they have a very good squad and play an entertaining brand of basketball.
“Seeing Neptune back at the top level and really competing puts a smile on my face,” O’Sullivan claimed. “I’m looking forward to coming home and hopefully helping to win some more cups at the senior level.”