Basketball Ireland chiefs have confirmed that one of the most storied names in the sport, seven-time National Cup champions UCC (Blue) Demons have withdrawn from next season's Men's Superleague.
They will not participate in any national adult competition but will play in the under 20 league.
Basketball Ireland chief executive Bernard O'Byrne said that the Men's National competition committee will deal with the Demons decision and all the issues arising therefrom at its July 8 meeting.
The withdrawal of Demons is a blow to basketball in Cork and nationally. Mr O'Byrne informed stakeholders today that the "immediate priority" is to decide which club is best suited to replace Demons in the Super League. Other decisions regarding the composition of Division One will be considered also on July 8.
Mr O'Byrne has extended an invite to clubs interested in playing Super League ball next season to indicate their interest by 5pm next Tuesday, July 2.
Any interested club must be available to make a presentation to the MNCC in the National Arena on Monday, July 8.
The immediately obvious candidates to replace Demons in the Superleague are Cork rivals Ballincollig and Neptune. The former just missed out on promotion from Division One last season while Demons' historical rivals, Neptune, were relegated from the Superleague.
Demons suffered a series of major departures from their player roster in recent seasons, beginning with the retirement of club legend Shane Coughlan four years ago. in 2017, Ciarán O'Sullivan (Ballincollig) and Roy Downey (Neptune) departed for local rivals, and another Irish international Adrian O'Sullivan left for the UK the following season.
Those losses ripped the heart out of Colin O'Reilly's squad. The player-coach had overseen a glorious era after taking over from Paul Kelleher as head coach in 2013. Over the next three seasons, Demons won two National Cups, two Superleagues and three Champions Trophies before O'Reilly returned to pro ball in the UK.
In total, Demons have claimed a record seven national cups, the most recent being back-to-back successes in 2014 and 2015.
Demons have also won seven Superleagues, joint-second in the roll of honour with Killester and behind Neptune (11 titles). They also annexed eight end-of-season championships, four as the old Top Four, and four as Champions Trophies.