Cork basketball: Denis O'Gorman and Norma Thompson will officiate Special Olympics in Berlin

From the heart of the northside, they are dedicated to the sport of basketball.
Cork basketball: Denis O'Gorman and Norma Thompson will officiate Special Olympics in Berlin

Denis O’Gorman and Norma Thompson doing their table official duties at the recent Cork Ladies Basketball Board Championship Finals at the Parochial Hall.

Norma Thompson and Denis O’Gorman are the two proud Cork basketball table officials that have been picked to travel to Berlin to officiate at the Special Olympics World Games in June. 

Thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities will compete together in 26 different sports. They will be nine days of exciting and inspiring competitions by all athletes from June 17-25.

Both Norma and Denis are from the heart of the Northside and are dedicated to the sport of basketball.

Denis is no stranger to the games as his traveled to Abu Dhabi as an official in 2019 in what was an experience of a lifetime for him and his really looking forward to the games in Berlin.

“I traveled to Abu Dhabi four years ago for the World Games and it was the best experience of my life,” Denis said.

Norma Thompson, Denis O’Gorman and Deborah McArdle at the National Basketball Cup Finals at the Irish National Basketball Arena recently.
Norma Thompson, Denis O’Gorman and Deborah McArdle at the National Basketball Cup Finals at the Irish National Basketball Arena recently.

“I officiated at 13 games there but the highlight was to be picked to do the Men’s Division 1 final which was televised live by ESPN.

I am the commissioner for the Cork Ladies Basketball Board at the moment and my duties are that all the games run smoothly and on time. 

"I also do the 24-second clock for Brunell and Blue Demons for their National League games and also help out the other National League Clubs when I’m needed.

“I recently officiated at the Wheelchair Basketball Cup Final in the National Basketball Area in Dublin and was delighted to see the Rebel Wheelers lift the cup.

“This is another fantastic opportunity for me and I would like to thank my family, my best friend and mentor Dommie Mullins, the Cork Men’s and Ladies Boards for all the support and encouragement as it means so much to me,” Denis added.

Norma Thompson is no stranger to basketball circles as she is a frequent helper and mentor to all young basketball officials all over the country.  She been all over as a parent to her sons Keith, Daniel and Jamie when they played with clubs and doing table official duties for Basketball Ireland. 


Norma is the only FIBA table official in Cork and she is very proud of her achievements.

”I was thrilled to be picked this year to be a table official at the World Games in Berlin,” Norma said.

“I first went to the Parochial Hall as a 12-year-old with my friend Valarie Kelly to watch some basketball games and I’m still going there every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights to help out clubs who needs the table to be done,” Norma said.

“I first got involved in table officiated many years ago when Mark O’Donoghue asked me to do a course and I have never looked back since.

“I did my FIBA course during the Covid lockdown and it’s something I’m very proud of. 

Denis O’Gorman and Norma Thompson.
Denis O’Gorman and Norma Thompson.

"I have officiated at many National Cup Finals in Dublin and I also do the table for the Blue Demons and Brunell Basketball Clubs for their National League games. “I would like to thank both the Men’s and Ladies Basketball Boards and Brunell for their financial support. 

"I would also like all the people who attended the fundraiser that my son Keith organised recently," Norma added.

Deborah McAorah, a member of the Irish Special Olympics committee, explained the process.

“There are eight Irish basketball officials that have been selected by Special Olympics International to officiate at the summer World Games in Berlin,” Deborah said. “There was an application process with only six more table officials were selected, two from the US and four from Germany. 

"Two of the Irish officials are referees (one athlete referee and one mentor).

“Of the remaining six Irish officials two have previously, including Denis, competed at Special Olympics World Summer Games as a player on the Irish basketball team and also officiated at the World Games in Abu Dhabi four years ago. 

"There will be three basketball table officials and their mentors traveling to Berlin and we will be leaving on 15th June and returning on 26th June.

“Norma is a FIBA level table official and she the only FIBA official in Cork, which it’s a credit to her for her hard work and dedication to the sport.

“Both will be officiating every day at the games in the six-court venue in Berlin.

"They both officiated recently at a Special Olympics basketball tournament in Little Island."

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