WITH just over a week to kick off in the MSL season, all clubs are busy preparing and looking forward to the beginning of a new season.
For most clubs, the break was too long, but that’s what should make this season more exciting. Players and management are itching to get back onto the pitch and none more so than Cobh Wanderers player Dave Curran.
The 26-year-old architectural technologist has enjoyed the tough pre-season but is now ready for the season ahead, one in which he believes could be the most competitive in years.
“Pre season has been brilliant,” said Curran. "Everyone has been putting in the hard graft in every training and outside training also and it has shown in the short space of time we are back. Numbers are the best I have ever seen, and we all know how tough it can be when people have work and other commitments.
"However, our pre-season games have been very worthwhile, with us improving every game and getting fitter and stronger and we are all looking forward to the season starting in just over a week.”
Curran, a local lad from Cobh, began his soccer career with Springfield, winning an U16 National Cup, before he moved to Cobh Ramblers U19 League of Ireland team. There he won the U19 League of Ireland Southern Division and from there life got pretty hectic.
“I went straight to the senior setup from U19s when Cobh Ramblers senior team returned to the league of Ireland. I then made the move and played one year with Midleton seniors in the MSL before returning to Cobh ramblers for two years, where we won the Munster senior cup.
“It was a great experience to train and play with players in a league that I watched growing up every week and to learn from them at every training really helped me develop as a young player new to senior football. However, my decision to return to MSL when I finished my college degree, was because I began working full time and trying to commit to League of Ireland football at that time would have been too difficult so I had to put my working career above football for the first time.
"Also, I wasn’t playing regularly at the time and wanted to get back to playing week in week out so although it was a tough decision at the time it proved to be for the best.
“I’ve been playing for Cobh Wanderers for the last four years and enjoying every minute of it. I have played under some great managers but one stands out, my manager growing up the whole way through schoolboys football was Niall Abbott.
“I also played with some great players along the way. John Meade, Conor Meade, Shane O’Connor, Alan Stapleton are just a few great players I played with, the list is too long to name them all, but I was fortunate to play with so many brilliant players.
“I had a few offers from clubs when I left Cobh Ramblers but joining Cobh Wanderers was an easy decision. The squad at the time was one of the best amateur squads in the country in my opinion and playing for your local club means that much more. I have loved playing for the club since I joined, playing in so many big matches has been a regular occurrence in my first few years and I look forward to playing in many more.
"Since last year myself and other players have taken up a more senior role in the squad. It happens naturally but the experience that we have collectively for a relatively young age will help us set the standards that are required and to help the young players in the team develop.
“The squad is very young but there is a huge amount of experience throughout the team. The majority of the team have played League of Ireland football and it’s important for us senior players now to help the new young players coming into the squad.
"The management has experience of playing at the highest level of football in Ireland and playing in England so it’s important for us to listen and take on board the information and tactics they give us because it’s clear they know a great deal after the careers they had.
“I expect us to have a strong season, we have brought in a few new players who will fit perfectly into the team and the way we play and the aim for the team as always is to challenge on all fronts in every competition we enter.
"Personally, as a midfielder I’d like to score more goals obviously but my main aim echoes that of the team, I want to get back challenging for the league and to play in more intermediate cup finals.
“The MSL is always competitive, every game is a battle and no team can be taken lightly. I don’t think there are particular teams that you can say will be our main threat, because every year there are at least five teams all in with a shout of winning throughout the season.
"A successful season to me has always been whether or not you win trophies, hopefully we can get the club back to where it belongs this year and add silverware as well.”