IT was quite the baptism of fire for Craig Robinson in his role as head coach for Mayfield United’s senior team.
The 28-year-old UEFA B License holder joined the club last summer after their relegation to the Munster Senior League First Division, tasked with rebuilding Mayfield from the ground up.
The Mitchelstown native, who previously worked with Cobh Ramblers U19s and Cork City Women’s FC, is already seeing improvements after just nine months in the job.
Mayfield are currently second in the suspended league, trailing league leaders Blarney United by four points.
They also reached the quarter finals of the Munster Senior Cup, where they were beaten 2-1 by Cork City FC.
“To me, Mayfield United is the ideal club because I love a challenge,” Robinson said.
“When I first went into the club there was a lot of uncertainty. I had to persuade players to stay and tell the club that we would all be moving in the same direction.
“After this I went about creating a better atmosphere and vibe around the club which paid off very quickly.
“Last year Mayfield were very unlucky to get relegated but they are on the other side of that now.
“The result against Cork City showed how far we’ve come as a team in such a short period of time.”
In recent seasons, success has been few and far between for Mayfield United.
The club’s last major piece of silverware came in 2008 when they lifted the Beamish Stout Senior Cup and since then they have won the 2014 Junior League Cup and the 2017 Floodlit Shield.
Robinson has a very clear vision going forward on how to remedy this drought at the club.
“Before I took over the club it was described to me as a sleeping giant that has produced some great players, but hasn’t been performing as well as it should be. I’m determined to turn things around.
“I want to bring all aspects of the club together to achieve this. For example, I am also running the academy in Mayfield. My long term goal is to have a philosophy and mindset running down through the whole club.
“I’m very busy creating the structures now. I want to be able to bring players up through the club from grassroots to play senior.
“We have fantastic players coming through. Eighteen-year-old Matthew Ekhosuehi started against Cork City in the cup and he played very well.
“To me, if a player is good, I will bring them to challenge and develop them.”