AT a time when the youth in the club are more important than ever for Cork City FC, David Moore is one of the managers responsible for developing the underage and bringing them to a level where they could challenge for squad places with the first team.
Moore, an electrician by trade, has just finished his first year running the Cork City U13 boys, the first season of that grade in the League of Ireland, and will now step up to the U15 side. There are no U14, U16 or U18 squads in the league, but Moore brings 10 of last season's U13 panel with him.
It's an exciting time for Moore and his backroom staff as he feels he learned a huge amount across 2019.
“Last season was a huge learning curve and a very enjoyable year which makes me really excited about the year ahead,” said Moore.
“I will be taking the U15s next season and again the aim will be to develop the players to the next level being competitive while doing so.
“We have brought 10 U13 players up so the aim for us and for them is to push and get two seasons at U15 level.
“We have six players that are in their second season at U15 so the aim for them is to get into the U17s. All these players should be pushing to get international recognition as well.
“We will hope to qualify for the elite phase and be competitive in that and see where it takes us. There is a strong group there with very good players so we are all looking forward to the season ahead.”
The season gone by was a success and Moore feels he was fortunate to have a very good group of players.
"Their application and attitude was second to none. We were comfortable in phase one as we topped our group.
"Our objective/goals were to develop the players and to qualify for the elite phase. Phase two (elite phase) was very competitive which was brilliant in terms of the players being developed. The standard was very high with the likes of Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians, Limerick and Kildare."
While there are many that criticise the U13 National League, given players are recruited from their clubs when they are just 12, Moore argues it is beneficial.
"There were concerns at the start about other sports, travelling, training workload. But if you have an ambition to play at a high level then it’s not a problem.
"The players playing other sports wasn’t a problem as we monitored the workload and adjusted accordingly. Traveling was a godsend. It's brilliant for team bonding and if a player wants to reach the highest level then they got to get used to traveling as it’s a big part of the game.
"The players absolutely loved it.
“We started our season with a squad size of 17 players and we brought in one more player in phase 2 so we had a squad size of 18 for the second half of the season.
As a whole, every player developed their game technically, tactically and physically which was very pleasing for Moore as a coach.
"This was down to game time. Every player played in every match if available. We had a good structure and plan to facilitate this.
"The players have developed in all aspects of their game but decision making is the stand out for me. From the start of the season to the end you can see a huge difference. Now, they are making better decisions with and without the ball."
Moore feels the standard of player on Leeside is high.
“There is a lot of talent coming from the Cork Schoolboys League. The Cork Schoolboys League and the clubs are doing an incredible job. It is a testament to the work they are doing with the players as each year, the players seem to be getting better and better which is refreshing to see.
“My backroom staff from last season was Alan Bennet (assistant), Mark Turner (coach), Ian Giltnan (goalkeeping coach) and Des O'Neill (logistics). I have brought Ian and Des with me to U15s for the season coming and have brought in Steve Barry as S&C coach. Steve is a manager of Dennehy's Health and Fitness and will be a huge addition to the team.”
The father of three from Carrigaline has a busy schedule but appreciates the help of his wife and others who allow him pursue his ambition.
“As a manager, I’m learning all the time. I’ve learned from all my backroom staff. Alan, Mark, Ian and Des have been fantastic and I would be lost without them."
It helps that City legend Colin Healy is academy manager.
"The help he has given me has been brilliant. He sets high standards in the academy so it keeps us coaches on our toes developing all the time.
"The other coaches in the academy have been extremely helpful as well, Richie Holland, Colm Bermingham, Liam Kearney, Billy Woods, Dan Murray, Cormac Cotter. No better environment to work in with that bunch."
Man-management even at the younger age groups is essential.
"I have really learned how to approach different individuals. They all learn differently so it’s a nice challenge for me to get certain coaching points across to them in different ways.
"It is demanding and very time consuming for me especially with three kids and a full-time job but I am lucky to have an understanding wife. She’s been very supportive and she understands I have an ambition to be the best I can be.
"To fulfill my ambitions you have to put in the work. I intend to keep putting in the work and I am finding the balance to switch off and enjoy family life too.”