WINNING a national title in any discipline is a monumental achievement, but the list of people who accomplish this feat more than once and as a part of multiple teams is short.
Former Neptune BC underage star, Conor O’Sullivan added his name to that elite crop of players last weekend when his MVP performance led Ulster University to victory over Moy Tolka Rovers in the InsureMyHouse.ie Presidents’ Cup.
“It meant the world to me, it meant the world to the lads and to everybody else up here.
“It’s the first time that the club won a national cup and the first time that the cup is travelling up to the North.”
O’Sullivan, 25, is no stranger to success at the National Basketball Arena both with his boyhood club Neptune and with his alma mater Coláiste Choilm where he won back-to-back All-Ireland titles.
“The success that I had with Neptune is still unbelievable, but this is a different feeling in my opinion.
“We were expected to win with Neptune having had such good squads, but this time around I think that everyone overlooked us.”
Punters and pundits alike couldn’t be blamed for the underestimation of this Ulster side who currently sit sixth overall in the InsureMyVan.ie Division 1.
Even allowing for the absence of leading scorer, Matt Treacy, few could have foreseen the league-leading Rovers rolling out of Tallaght empty handed.
Treacy, who leads the division in points per game, was also absent for the semi-final stages when the cup action came to Cork for three days at the start of January.
This weekend allowed for O’Sullivan and fellow Leesider Shane O’Connor to perform in front of their loved ones in Upper Glanmire as they downed Malahide by three points.
Having been humiliated by UCC Demons in the Mardyke a season previous, O’Sullivan’s offensive prowess resulted in redemption, the first of consecutive 21-point games in cup competition and, most importantly, a spot in the final.
“All of our friends and family came, so it was important to get a win.
“I never had any doubt that we were going to win in Cork.”
A riveting cup final followed in the capital, with the side from Coleraine leading by five with a minute to go.
Tolka stayed attached until the dying embers of the contest, seeing a pair of three-point heaves miss the mark in an effort to force overtime, crowning UU national champs for the first time.
O’Sullivan is currently studying at Ulster University for the second year following his graduation from Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama where he had notable success on the basketball court.
His brother, Darragh, is currently enrolled at Florida Tech on a basketball scholarship where he too is flourishing in his third year playing for the school.