Cork basketball: Tom O’Sullivan wants all strands of Neptune to be pulling together

Northside outfit is the best in the business at promoting the game with a top-class facility to draw in fans
Cork basketball: Tom O’Sullivan wants all strands of Neptune to be pulling together

Energywise Ireland Neptune and UCC Demons going toe-to-toe in front of a capacity crowd, in their Men's National Cup first-round clash at Neptune Stadium. Picture: David Keane.

THE on and off-the-court progress made by Neptune Basketball Club this season has been made under the direction of new chairman Tom O’Sullivan whose drive and ambition has made them the best club in the country at promoting the Super League.

Tom is a successful businessman, and his enthusiasm has rubbed off on the membership in the Blackpool club.

“The foundation was there when I went in this season as Neptune are a club with a 75-year history and when I sat down with the committee, I set out my ideas how to take the club forward," O'Sullivan said. 

COMMUNICATION

Having a gap between the Super League team and the rest of the club was something that Tom felt needed to be addressed.

“The bottom line is that we needed a line of communication with our juvenile section and I set out to make sure that our senior players were involved with the underage section.

“For the Super League players coming into the stadium training three times a week and playing on a weekend wasn’t good for the club as there was no relationship to the kids and we made it very clear we wanted them to attend the academy and games,” added O’Sullivan.

Neptune chairman Tom O'Sullivan welcomes Jordan Blount back to Neptune.
Neptune chairman Tom O'Sullivan welcomes Jordan Blount back to Neptune.

From putting this plan into place all began to fall into place for the club according to Tom.

You now have kids that wanted to be a Jordan Blount, Roy Downey, Jordan Evans and Nil Sabata and were asking their parents to go to our Super League games and suddenly you have the family involved.” 

This season Neptune have attracted the biggest attendances in the Super League as people that come are entertained.

“We had a product in place but needed to sell it and looking from the outside in we did lots of advertising on the opposite side of the city and we also reached with sponsors trying to get people involved with us.

“My idea the Super League games is that it should be a night out for families and that’s why in the summer we had to put in some finance to painting and cleaning up the stadium to ensure people enjoy the facility.

“Credit to the previous committee they got the roof sorted as you had no business doing anything inside the stadium until that was done and now we have everything in order.” 

PROMOTION

Neptune have been awarded the staging of the National Cup semi-finals on the weekend of January 6-8 and O’Sullivan is determined that Basketball Ireland continue promoting the sport for this crucial weekend.

“I have had a few discussions with Basketball Ireland and I want them to continue in the same manner we are promoting our home games with the teams' introduction and the halftime shooting competition.

“In my book, people want to buy tickets now but as a club, we know that we have been lucky with the string of home games we had together, but I am convinced people have bought into our present product.” 

The sub-standard of some gyms around the country that are hosting basketball games at Super League level needs to be addressed if the sport is to get back to the former glory days.

Basketball Ireland needs to step in and stop clubs from playing in gyms that don’t meet regulations as this is holding our sport back.

"The governing body should help clubs promote their games but in fairness, the gyms will need to be up to the basic requirements.” 

Neptune in their 75th year continue to have their weekly bingo which is the mainstay of the club finances and Tom paid tribute to the committee that have looked after this for many years.

“Our bingo has come back to near pre-Covid numbers and I have to say that committee of Jim O’Donoghue, David Cody, Pat Ring and Lillian Goulding all run the show in a professional manner and many thanks also to the many volunteers we have.” 

The present manager of the stadium is Cathal O’Flaherty and he came in for some praise for the manner he’s adjusted to change.

“I think he was a little shocked when the new committee came in and told him the changes that were about to happen but now, he’s bought into what we expect and it’s great that everybody is on board to take our club forward.” 

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