Listen up... Cork City's new sensation Ricardo Dinanga is heading for the top

Listen up... Cork City's new sensation Ricardo Dinanga is heading for the top
Ricardo Dinanga of Cork City celebrates after scoring his side's third goal against Sligo Rovers at Turner's Cross. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

HE was responsible for bringing joy back to the Cross last week with his dramatic injury-time winner in extra time of the FAI cup clash with Longford.

His first senior goal for Cork City was shown over and over again on social media, relief for all involved as City booked themselves a place in the second round of the competition and just got a win.

Eighteen-year-old Ricardo Dinanga made it a week to remember, as he added to his tally three days later against Sligo Rovers in another crucial victory, this time in the league.

“Scoring two goals in two games definitely meant a lot to me," said Dinanga. "For the manager to have belief in me and give me the opportunity to show what I can do has given me huge confidence however I know I’m still very young and still have a lot to learn.

“To score the late goal and winner against Longford was a great buzz and it meant so much to the club because we have been struggling to get results. I think it was more relief than anything when I scored. You could see from the celebrations of the players and our management just how much it meant to us all.

“Coming off the bench against Sligo and getting on the scoresheet once again really boosted my confidence. But not just mine, it gave a lot of the lads confidence to hopefully push on now for the remainder of the season. Two wins in the week have given everybody a huge lift and it’s something we all needed really." 

Cork City's Ricardo Dinanga on his way to scoring the winning goal against Longford Town. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane
Cork City's Ricardo Dinanga on his way to scoring the winning goal against Longford Town. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

The former Ballincollig and College Corinthians schoolboy is confident that the team is starting to find their feet now and stated that the recent new signings will hopefully help the squad to work their way up the table.

“It’s no secret that we haven’t had a good season to date but the main thing for us from now on is to try to get as many points on the board as possible. Last week has set us up to have a good run.

“We have had three fantastic new signings in Connor Simpson, Kit Elliot and Scott Fenwick. We have quickly seen what they can bring to the squad. We were in badly need of goal scorers and I have no doubt these lads can help us in that department with Elliot already scoring in his first game.

“What is required is simple really, we need performances like last week’s game against Sligo, full of desire, enthusiasm, players showing their quality on the ball.

“Besides one really heavy defeat against Rovers, we’ve lost three league games by one goal so we aren’t too far off it.

“We are a very young side and I suppose this is a work in progress in developing this young side. There is a great attitude in the squad and for me, everything else will fall into place after that. 

"My personal aim at the beginning of the season was to get on to the first-team squad and play as many games as I could and help them out. My aims are still the same and for every game that will be my aim to work as hard as I can to help the club climb that table.

“I’ve been lucky to come through a very successful underage structure here at the club. Colin Healy and Richie Holland have been fabulous to me and in my development as a player.” 

PLaying for College Corinthians in 2017. Picture: Denis Minihane.
PLaying for College Corinthians in 2017. Picture: Denis Minihane.

 For a youngster like Dinanga, who has experienced a lot of success, words such as relegation are not normally in his vocabulary, and here he states that negative thoughts are certainly not on the minds of the squad.

“The team or anybody in the club are not even thinking about relegation. All our focus is on being positive. At times there is too much negativity from a lot of outsiders. That’s not how we operate at the club. We concentrate on the positives and that will continue to be our focus for the remainder of the season.

“Within the squad we have a great mixture of youth and experience. I’m lucky and I know the other young players feel the same, to have such great pros in the squad. We have league winners at the club who knows what it takes to be successful at Cork City. They lead by example and are great people as well as great players. 

"They are great to have in the dressing room. Alan Bennett, Mark McNulty, Kevin O’Connor, Gearoid Morrissey and Graham Cummins are all great to the younger lads in the squad and it’s great being given the opportunity to be part of the first team." 

Does he expect to start in the next game against Derry? 

"I would obviously love a start but that’s for the manager to decide and I am happy to play whatever role he feels is best for me. I am enjoying my football at a great club and I hope we can add more points on the table because the talent and belief is now evident, which is great.”

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