CORK City head coach John Cotter believes new captain Conor McCarthy has all of the qualities required for the role.
With Karl Sheppard and Garry Buckley suspended for last month’s game against Shamrock Rovers, Cotter entrusted McCarthy with the armband and the defender has remained as skipper even after Sheppard’s return.
Though McCarthy was forced off injured in Friday’s penalty shootout FAI Cup win over Cabinteely, Cotter hopes will be back soon.
“It’s something I thought of for a while,” he says.
“Obviously, a couple of weeks ago against Rovers, Karl and Bucks, who would have been captain and vice-captain, were both missing and I just gave it to Conor.
“I know some people give a player the captaincy to get more out of them, I gave it to him because I felt he deserved it.
“Conor is 21, a lad who has come through the academy and in my time in this position he has been absolutely unbelievable. He scored again on Friday and if he is out for a period of time he’ll be a massive loss.
“Conor deserves the captaincy and, as long as he was happy for it, I was delighted to give it to him.”
While City led through McCarthy’s first-half goal on Friday, first-division Cabinteely forced extra time and then led before a last-gasp equaliser from Ronan Hurley sent the game to spot kicks.
“I thought we played well for half an hour but let our standards drop a bit and let them come back into the game,” Cotter says.
“We never really came out second half and they put us under a lot of pressure with free kicks, long throws, corners, balls into the box and we should have defended the free for their first goal a lot better than we did.
“But, look, we showed a lot of character and guts at the end and got a bit of luck, that we wouldn’t have got for a long time. Hopefully, that might be a turning point.”
With Mark McNulty saving Cabinteely’s first kick, City scored all of theirs, with Sheppard, Dan Casey, Conor McCormack, Joel Coustrain and Gearóid Morrissey all netting.
“The lads would practise them quite regularly after training,” Cotter says.
“The lads that took them, we know that they’re all good lads and obviously Mark was able to get his hands to one as well.
“They still had to show a bit of character to stand up there and take them. Hopefully, that’s a confidence-booster for those boys.
“It’s amazing what winning a shootout does for the confidence in the dressing room.
“It’s grand saying that we need to bring it in but we have to do it now against Waterford. It’ll be a tough game, you never get an easy match down in Waterford and no doubt Rennie [Alan Reynolds] will have them well-motivated too.
“It should be a good game and hopefully we can take a bit of confidence from Friday.”