On the ball
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.”
I feel left-back suits me better as defending is one of my strengths, while I can also attack
Cork City’s Ronan Hurley wins the ball from Shamrock Rovers Emmanuel Lawal during the SSE Airtricity National U19 league at Bishopstown recently.
Cork City’s Ronan Hurley tackles Limerick’s Samual Ogandare last season.