Jim has been involved in The Neptune Basketball club since its inception in 1947.
“My brother, Donal, was a founding member. At 9, I’d tag along with him as ball boy, and at 14, I togged out for the Under 18’s.”
In the scholarship class at school, Jim’s maths result prevented a college scholarship, and he joined the civil service.
“I worked for CIE from 1962 until I retired,” he says. “As a clerical officer, I wrote letters and reports. I’d always liked writing.”
Meanwhile, his involvement in Neptune continued. He captained the senior basketball team, coached at all levels, and served as secretary for 16 years.
“I was secretary of the County Cork Basketball Board for two years,” he says. “And I refereed until I was 79.”
Who is Jim O’Donoghue?
Date of birth: 1938 in Cork. “200 yards from the Neptune stadium.”
Education: North Monastery Secondary School.
Family: Wife, Monica. Cormac, Niamh, Léan, and Aoife.
The Day Job: Retired. “But still active with Neptune, doing jobs for them.”
In Another Life: “I’d have loved to work in sports medicine. But after leaving school, work was the thing, and I took the first job I was offered.”
Favourite Writers: Dickens, and historical books. “I especially love reading about Tom Crean. And I love sports books.”
Second Book: “I’d love to write a book about my eldest sister, Breda.”
Top Tip: “Get it down and keep at it. Don’t try and get it perfect first time. Being too finicky would put you off the work.”
The Debut: Gods by The Lea. Inspire.ie (Available from Vibes and Scribes and Amazon.) €9.99 Kindle: €7.74
Jim and his elder brothers Donal and Leo have formed the backbone of the Neptune Basketball Club since its inception.
God by the Lee gives a full history – telling stories, listing all the teams, wins and losses, but also provides a history of the rise and fall of basketball in Ireland, explaining how the sport became established here in the first place.
“Ireland’s neutrality had been frowned on, and, anxious to make friends again, post WW2, a basketball match was arranged when American troops visited.”
The Verdict: This informative history catches the mood of the period quite wonderfully.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 14th November.
© Sue J Leonard. 2020