On the ball

Irish Examiner - County - - Front page - John Bo­hane

Tal­ented Schull foot­baller Ro­nan Hur­ley de­ter­mined to make his mark.

TAL­ENTED Schull teenager Ro­nan Hur­ley made his com­pet­i­tive de­but for the Cork City se­nior team who played Water­ford United in an EA Sports League Cup tie played re­cently.

An ex­per­i­men­tal Cork City team ul­ti­mately ex­ited the cup com­pe­ti­tion af­ter they were de­feated on penal­ties. The West Cork soc­cer ace was thrilled to make his de­but for the Cork City first team.

“It was a great achieve­ment,” Hur­ley said. “I was de­lighted. Ev­ery­one’s aim as a youth player with Cork City is to play with the se­niors and make the step up.

Ro­nan, who op­er­ates as a left-back with the Cork City U19 team made his de­but in his cus­tom­ary po­si­tion against their Mun­ster ri­vals. He of­fers a very vi­able long-term op­tion go­ing for­ward for the se­nior team.

“I def­i­nitely see my long-term po­si­tion as left-back, while I can also slot into cen­tre back which I have done so with the U19 team a few times this sea­son.

“Per­son­ally, I feel left-back suits me bet­ter as de­fend­ing is one of my strengths, while I can also help out in at­tack with my pass­ing and over­lap­ping abil­ity.”

Ro­nan has been as­sisted greatly by his proud fam­ily who have helped him progress through­out his soc­cer ca­reer.

His re­cent de­but against Water­ford United rep­re­sented a proud mo­ment for the Hur­ley fam­ily.

“It was a very proud mo­ment for my fam­ily. Af­ter all the hard work my par­ents have done es­pe­cially my mother in driv­ing me up and down to Cork for train­ing, it is a great achieve­ment for them also. I def­i­nitely wouldn’t be where I am to­day with­out them help­ing me along the way.”

Un­for­tu­nately for Ro­nan, his se­nior de­but came to a pre­ma­ture end af­ter he was forced off due to an ac­ci­den­tal clash of heads which re­quired med­i­cal at­ten­tion. Ro­nan was dis­ap­pointed with the way his de­but ended, but pleased with his per­for­mance.

“Over­all I was dis­ap­pointed as it wasn’t the way I wanted my de­but to end. Hav­ing to come off af­ter 25 min­utes wasn’t what I ex­pected be­fore the game.

“How­ever, while I was on the pitch I thought I ac­quit­ted my­self well and was en­joy­ing the game. I felt like I was im­prov­ing in the game as it went on.

“The in­jury came about as I went up for a header with the op­po­site winger, I won the header and the other player came through with his head into the side of my head. I played on as I didn’t want to come off. My vi­sion was so poor, how­ever, that I was un­able to play on.”

Ro­nan, thank­fully, is on the mend and he hopes to be back play­ing as soon as pos­si­ble.

“The night it hap­pened, I was told I would be out for a few weeks, but then I rechecked it with the doc­tor the morn­ing af­ter as it had im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly and he said a few days rest would do it, so I am all good now.”

The un­der­age soc­cer star was no­ti­fied of his call-up to the se­nior squad af­ter he had ap­peared for their U19 team the pre­vi­ous week­end. He was thrilled to re­ceive his first call-up.

“I played a match with the U19 team on Satur­day and af­ter­wards my man­ager rang me to say John Caulfield wanted me in train­ing in the morn­ing. He also told me I that I would be in the se­nior squad for the Water­ford game.

“I trained with the first-team and then John Caulfield told me that I would be start­ing against Water­ford. I was very ex­cited prior to the game, but also very ner­vous as I wanted to play to the best of my abil­ity and show them what I can do.”

The Cork City se­nior squad were a great help to Ro­nan prior to his big de­but re­vealed the grate­ful sports star­let.

“All of them were sound out. They gave me great ad­vice be­fore the game. They are very nice lads and qual­ity soc­cer play­ers.”

Ro­nan is com­bin­ing his stud­ies for the Leav­ing Cer­tifi­cate with pur­su­ing his dreams of a pro­fes­sional soc­cer ca­reer. He is hope­ful all his hard work will pay off.

“I am try­ing to bal­ance soc­cer and study at present which is dif­fi­cult as the Leav­ing Cert is very im­por­tant. I am aim­ing to achieve high points while also con­tin­u­ing to im­prove my game in train­ing and matches. I am cap­tain of the U19 team this year.

“We got off to a shaky start, but I think we have a qual­ity team. We have a lot of the lads who have just come up from U17 team. They won their league last year, which cer- tainly shows that we have the qual­ity.”

Ro­nan is hope­ful of em­u­lat­ing the suc­cess of both Conor McCarthy and Con­nor El­lis who grad­u­ated into the City first-team af­ter com­ing through their youth sys­tem.

“It was a great boost to play against Water­ford as it shows that John had the con­fi­dence in me. I can’t dwell on it as it is only the first step and I’ll have to keep im­prov­ing my game and work­ing hard to get a place in that first team.

“It is very dif­fi­cult to break into that squad at the mo­ment with the qual­ity that is there, but re­cent un­der­age play­ers like Conor McCarthy and Con­nor El­lis have shown that it is pos­si­ble.”

“Per­son­ally,

I feel left-back suits me bet­ter as de­fend­ing is one of my strengths, while I can also at­tack

Pic­ture: Ed­die O’Hare

Cork City’s Ro­nan Hur­ley wins the ball from Sham­rock Rovers Em­manuel Lawal dur­ing the SSE Air­tric­ity Na­tional U19 league at Bish­op­stown re­cently.

Pic­ture: Gavin Browne

Cork City’s Ro­nan Hur­ley tack­les Lim­er­ick’s Sa­mual Ogan­dare last sea­son.

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