THIS years is already an exciting one for Ringmahon star Jason Forde.
His beloved Liverpool are set to lift the Premier League title and locally, his own side Ringmahon are on a fabulous run in the Munster Senior league and cup competitions.
The 25 year-old from Togher has been a superb footballer throughout his career playing in many positions. He began his schoolboy playing days with Ballyphehane club Kilreen before moving to Ringmahon at U13 level.
While at Ringmahon he played on a great side which involved players such as Alan Browne, Eric Grimes, Roy Kenny and Anto O’Donnell to name a few. He enjoyed a lot of success while there and developed hugely as a player.
From here, he moved to Cork City which led to a lot more success for the underage international and here he tells us how football has given him so much joy over the years.
“I’ve been playing football for as long I remember and I have some fantastic memories,” said Forde.
“To be fair to my dad he brought me everywhere when I was younger and travelled up and down the country to get me to games and training.
“Whether it was The Kennedy Cup, Irish training or just Ringmahon training, he always brought me and that only broadened my love for the game.
“However after all the great years I have had with football, I feel this year is going to be a massive year and one that I will hopefully remember for a long time.
“I’ve always been a huge Liverpool fan so I’ve been waiting for this year for awhile,” laughs Forde.
“I also hope to win some silverware with Ringmahon because we have a squad good enough to do so.”
In 2011 Forde made a few appearances when Cork City won the First Division, and although it was a fantastic experience for the youngster, he felt he needed more game time so he decided to leave the club.
“After Tommy Dunne left John Caulfield came in and I signed full time for the first team.
“To be fair to John he gave me game time as much as he could but I just wanted to play every week.
“Around that time I got a phone call from Kieran O’Reilly, who in my opinion is one of, if not, the best coach in Ireland at any level.
“O’Reilly convinced me to sign back to Ringmahon and I have been there ever since.
“Within two years we won the first division, Beamish Cup, Pop Keller cup and made it to the Intermediate cup semi final where we lost to Letterkenny on a replay (my worst loss in football to date).
“After a few years Kieran decided to leave and Aidan (Basil) Foley took over. Basil is a manager you just want to play for and give your all.
“Reilly set standards for us as a club and when Aidan took over they continued and really got us to competing at the top level we are today.
“We have been challenging the last few years but have been falling short. I think this year with the players we already had like Dean Swords, Philly Keane, Anthony McAlavey who’s the best player in the league.
"We’ve added that bit of experience with Eric Grines coming back, Danny Long who has won everything at this level, Anthony Wolfe and Darren Murphy, I think we have the right mix to compete right to the end this season.
“This season we’ve been unbeaten in the league which is tough because there are 10 good teams in our league and you have to train hard and prepare well before every game otherwise you’ll get caught.
“I think we just have to keep doing what we are doing and fingers crossed we’ll have a good season.
“Any team that want to finish above the likes of Rockmount and UCC must be at their best all season and can’t take the foot off and get too complacent.”
Although the league title is the main focus for Forde and his team mates, the Intermediate cup is a fixture that always brings a bit of excitement and none more so than the fact they’ve been drawn to rivals College Corinthians in the last eight of the competition.
“The intermediate cup draw is a tough one against Corinthians but any team you play at this stage will be a strong team.
“They are coached unbelievably well and play the right way.
“Results between us over the last few years have been 50/50 but you come off the pitch after playing them and know you’ve been in a game.
“Hopefully with the home crowd behind us, who, to be fair never leave us down with support, we’ll make the semi final and hopefully go one better than we did the last time.
“For us at this stage it’s about winning trophies. The whole group of players and management are a very close group and you can’t buy that these days.
“The way our management team look after us, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be looking to win every competition we enter at this level and I can’t wait to see how the season will unfold.”