LIKE the rest of the League of Ireland, Cobh Ramblers defender John Kavanagh is adjusting to life as a player during the coronavirus crisis.
Although just 25, Kavanagh is one of the more experienced heads in what is a youthful Cobh first team squad.
While he’s had injuries and ups and downs in his career before, this is very much a new experience.
“I suppose everyone in the League of Ireland is into the unknown really.
“It is just about trying to keep yourself active and fit for when the season does eventually kick back off.”
Kavanagh joined up with Ramblers for the 2020 League Of Ireland First Division season, which was in the very early stages before the action came to a halt.
Kavanagh previously pulled on the Cork City jersey, but more recently was on loan with Waterford.
“I was coming off the back of finishing with Cork City, I finished there last August.
"I went to Waterford for the last three or four months of the season. I was actually finishing my degree inside in college in UCC doing PE Teaching.
“As part of that, I was in school and college full time really more or less.
“It was kind of tough really to balance the two. Waterford were accommodating and they knew the situation when I went down.
“So realistically after Christmas, I knew that part time was probably going to suit best.”
His connection with Stuart Ashton was crucial to switching to Ramblers.
“I knew Stuart Ashton very well from my time with the Cork City U19s and I get on very well with him.
“I just sized things up then and I agreed to go with it. I was excited by what he was saying and how he wanted to play.
“As you can see what Cobh are doing down there in terms of the committee and board of management, they are really driving the club. There has been a lot of emphasis put on that this year.
“You’d see it with the deals with the Metropole and different things like that. They are really after driving the club forward and hopefully there is more to come.”
Largely utilised as a defender or midfielder, he commenced his footballing career at Ringmahon Rangers, before moving to Cork City’s underage setup in 2011 and captained a successful U19 side.
Kavanagh then made his way to the City first team squad, where his displays earned rave reviews.
After making his Cork City first team debut in 2013, over the coming seasons he would go on to make over 50 first team appearances for the Leesiders, but unfortunately his progress was then stalled because of injury.
“It was probably a mixed bag really,” reflects the 25-year-old on his time with City.
“I started off really well I suppose in terms of the City U19s and then breaking into the first team.
“I have some great memories at Cork City. I remember the second last home game of the season (2014) against Bohs at there wasn’t event standing space in Turner’s Cross.
“That was the game before we played Dundalk on the final day of the season in Oriel Park. So it was great to be involved in teams like that.
“I suppose the disappointing aspect was the injuries I suffered throughout the years. That was very disappointing and it meant I missed out on playing in European football and different things like that.
“But look, I think I am wise and mature enough to realise that is sport and that is just the way it is.
“It was disappointing that I didn’t play more in the latter few years and when City were challenging for the league, it was difficult coming back from injury trying to get in then.”
He went on loan to Cobh, in 2017, and a couple of times to Waterford and Finn Harps.
“Every time I went on loan, I felt that I had done well. I played wherever I went so I take a lot of pride in that.”
All in all though, Kavanagh is hungry to get back to the Premier Division and would love to get up there while with Cobh.
Kavanagh feels there is no reason why Ramblers cannot be in the mix.
“Absolutely. There is a good mix of experience and youth in the squad. There is actually a lot of players down there who have played a lot of League of Ireland games.
“I know we got off to maybe a bit of a slow start, but it is not to worry really because I think with the amount of games left to play, two or three wins there will do a lot.
“The two home league games so far the crowds have been very good, especially the Drogheda game on the opening game of the season.
“Looking back, there was no reason why we couldn’t have gotten something out of that game.
“Hopefully once things do get back to normal, we can make a push for promotion and that would be nice to see.
“The Premier Division is where everyone wants to be. There is no doubt the majority of the players in the squad probably will go on to play Premier Division football at some stage in their career.
“But in terms of Cobh Ramblers, let’s just hope it is with Cobh in the next few years.”