CORK CITY FC’s Ronan Hurley recently answered the questions of the Clonakilty AFC U10 squad.
A Bunratty United graduate, Hurley learned his trade in the SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys’ League, before moving up through the ranks from Schull and becoming a League of Ireland player.
Another West Cork club, Clonakilty AFC, recently gave members of their U10 squad an opportunity to quiz Hurley on a wide range of subjects and the former Bunratty stalwart duly obliged.
Q. (Eolann Coakley) When did you start playing soccer and when did you sign for Cork City FC?
A. My two older brothers, Fionn and Cian, were always playing soccer when I was young. So, I was kicking a ball around the house with them from the age of three. We were out playing soccer every time the weather was good. I started out with Bunratty when I was seven and signed for Cork City U17s when I turned 16. That was after moving to Lakewood for a year.
Q. (Rónán O’Mahony) How many hours training did you complete every week when you were nine years old?
A. That is a tough question! I was always practising, during and after school, whenever I got the chance. When I was nine, it was a case of playing at home with my brothers and just practising my skills. I would also have been training twice a week with my Bunratty team, back then. It is hard to give a specific amount of hours, but I just kicked a ball every chance I got.
Q. (Fionn Harrigan) How hard was it to get to play professional soccer?
A. It was very difficult, to be honest. Obviously, coming into a new team, things are going to be hard at the beginning. Things were completely different from playing underage, especially the physicality. You are up against adult men, once you reach the senior team, whereas you would have always been playing fellas your own age coming up through the underage ranks.
You are also playing much more experienced players at senior level, so the pace and physicality are a big step up.
It is all a bit daunting at the start, because you would have been going to Turner’s Cross watching these guys and now you are out on the training pitch with them. It took a while, but once things settled down, I was able to make the adjustment.
Q. (Fionn McCarthy) What car do you drive and what car would you like to be able to buy when you are older?
A. I am driving a Ford Focus, at the moment! I wouldn’t be huge into the cars, but when I am older, I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on one of those 4x4 Range Rover jeeps. I think they are very nice and I would love to drive one, as long as I could afford it.
Q. (Luke O’Regan) If you could play for one team in the whole world, who would it be and why? What are the best and worst moments of your career, so far?
A. Manchester United, because they are the team I have followed since I was a young boy. I’ve been lucky enough to travel over to a few of their games. Manchester United are the club I have idolised, so it would have to be them.
As for your second question, the best moment would have been scoring my first goal for Cork City. It was in the last minute of extra-time in an FAI Cup tie against Cabinteely to level the score. I never scored that many goals in my career, so it was a great feeling. Making my Cork City debut was also special.
The worst moment, I would say, was playing poorly in my first senior home game, against Waterford. I was taken off at half time and was worried I might have missed my opportunity.
Q. (Logan Leahy) Who has had the biggest influence on your career with Bunratty United and Cork City?
A. For Bunratty, I would have to say Dan McSweeney, because he would have been my coach throughout my time playing for the club. He had a huge influence on me. As for Cork City, I would have to say my U19 manager, Colin Healy, because he was the one that helped me the most make the step up to senior. Colin improved my game.
Q. (Jim Darren La Madrid) What other sports or games do you play aside from football; any favourites?
A. Growing up, I would have played Gaelic football as well as soccer. I never really got into hurling. I’d also be a fan of table tennis, as well. We have a table here, so I play away whenever I can and I enjoy it. My long-term dream is to play professionally for a club in the UK.
Q. (Mattie Coffey) Who is your favourite soccer player of all time and what ‘dream team’ would you like to play with?
A. Cristiano Ronaldo is my idol and we used to go to Manchester to watch him play for United. I was gutted when he left, but you could see the quality he had.
As for a dream team, I’d love to play alongside Ronaldo and a middle three of Paul Scholes, Xavi, and Iniesta. Up-front, I’d have to have Lionel Messi!