ONE of Cork’s most successful clubs Tramore Athletic is on the rise for success once again.
After a few tough years, the club are rebuilding their senior structure and although there is a very young current side playing junior, the management and committee are doing everything right in order to get the club back playing in the top tier of football again.
A very successful club back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s with players such as Jim Leahy, Noel ‘Fada’ Hartigan, Greg Cleary, Brian McSweeney and Pat Jackson to name a few, and with Dave Barry and Kieran O’Regan before them, the club enjoyed a lot of success. However over the years, with competition from other local clubs and kids opting to play other sporting codes, the senior side of the club struggled a little.
That changed once again in 2008 when Mark O’Connell and Stuart McTaggart’s junior side won the league and instead of being promoted to Junior Premier, they opted for Senior First Division. A great move for the club which saw them promoted in their first year to Senior premier, along with Midleton.
As with most clubs, there comes a period where you need to rebuild and for the Douglas club, in recent years with such young squads, they played most of their football in the junior leagues. They have steadily progressed in the past few seasons and this season playing in Junior Second they were 11 points clear at the top of the league before Covid-19 brought a halt to the league.
A disappointing factor no doubt for all involved as getting promoted was an aim for Kieran McCarthy’s side from the beginning of the season.
Having caught up with club stalwart Stephen Dorney, here he tells us about his journey in the Maroon and amber colours.
“I started out with Tramore at the age of eight and played up until youths but unfortunately we didn’t have a team after that so I left and played a few years with Kilreen, Casement and later St Mary’s,” said Dorney. “I really enjoyed my time at each club but I always knew I wanted to go back playing with my local side Tramore again.
“I got the chance to do that at senior level and I have loved my time there since. I played most positions when I was younger but my preferences choice would be centre mid or centre half. I’ve been lucky to play with some fantastic players over the years but ones that stood out for me would be Steven Heaphy, Maurice O’Connell, Brian O’Regan, Mark Murphy, Gavin Dorgan and Shane O’Shea.
“I didn’t play too much with Gearoid O’Leary but he was a great player too and had a great career with Rockmount. Back then management consisted of lads who were real Tramore men, Dave Heaphy, Ken May and Derry O’Callaghan.
“In the older setups we had the likes of Steven Heaphy, Mark O’Connell, Brian O’Neill, Shane O’Shea, Stuart McTaggart who all gave so much of their time to ensure our club would not fall aside. They were fantastic coaches who all contributed so much to the club.
"At senior, we won a Donie Ford and Pop Kelleher Cup and had a few promotions under Steven Heaphy and then Mark O’Connell which was great for the club. It was great playing under all of those lads and each coach had their own way of doing things which brought out the best in all the players that played for them.”
Influenced by great clubmen, Dorney took on a similar approach when he decided to act as player-coach for the junior team last season. An experience he enjoyed and one in which has motivated him to bring the club back to the top level of football in Cork.
“As youngsters, we probably didn’t appreciate at the time the effort and commitment the coaches did for us as players, and as people. They dedicated a lot of their time to ensure kids were kept off the straight and occupied playing sport, and also they wanted to ensure that our beloved Tramore would survive as a club.
“It hasn’t always been easy, and that goes for all clubs. There is so much competition with other sporting codes and also the job of just keeping kids interested when they come to their teenage years. It’s only when you are older you see the work that goes into it.
“And that is why I decided I wanted to give something back. I have enjoyed my role as player-manager alongside Shane O’Shea and Thomas Morgan but it’s nice again to just be a player and enjoy less responsibility, but still feeling I’m doing my bit to keep the team running. We were gutted this season was cancelled to be honest.
“We were in a great position at the top of the league to get promoted but what can you do when something like this happens.
“Hopefully it won’t have any effect and the squad stick together and is hungry to go out and do the job this year. It is a very young squad in general (except me of course) but there’s a few experienced lads that have been involved for years which is vital to any squad.
“The plan is to get the club back playing at senior level because that is where I believe they should be. There are three coaches involved at the moment and they deserve huge credit. Kieran McCarthy, Jerry Twomey and Stuart McTaggart put together a good team and created a great atmosphere around the place.
“They’ve all been involved with Tramore most of their lives so the club is in good hands. Roll on next season.”