FRIDAY night’s Munster Senior Cup final win over Midleton was a chance for Cork City’s fringe players to impress manager John Caulfield and they did that as the Rebel Army achieved a 3-1 win at Turner’s Cross.
Left-back Ronan Hurley, from Schull in West Cork, was one of those given an opportunity and he was happy with the outing against the Magpies.
“I was delighted to get 90 minutes under my belt and we won as well, so it was great,” he says.
“It was a good opportunity for us lads to try to impress and get 90 minutes in and show John that we’re able for it.
“You’re playing against senior league teams, who are always going to up their standards and make a game out of it. We have to make sure that we’re at our best at the same time and push ourselves on.”
Hurley had his initial taste of first-team football last season while still playing at U19 level. Having made his debut in the EA Sports Cup against Waterford, he featured in the league towards the end of the season, playing in a defence which kept a clean sheet in a scoreless draw away to Shamrock Rovers.
He admits that the step up takes some adjusting.
“Coming in from U19s to senior, it’s a lot more physical and a lot quicker,” he says.
“At U19s, if you make a mistake, you might get away with it whereas at senior level, if you make a mistake you’re punished straightaway so you have to be on your toes the whole time.
“You need to be fully focused where at U19 you might get away with one or two.”
On Friday, he put in a solid display on the left flank and might even have capped his performance with a goal early in the second half but he shot over the bar. It’s something he hopes to improve on.
“I was disappointed, I could have got my first goal for the seniors!” he says.
“I just pulled the chance. It’s something to work on, if I could add goals to my game then I’d definitely be able to push on.”
Also beneficial in that effort is the assistance provided by the older members of the City squad and the management team.
“They’re great,” Hurley says.
“If you need any advice, the older lads are always available, they’ve experience and they’ve been through it all over the last few years.
“Even going to John if I need any help, they’re all there to assist you so it’s good that way.”
And, having helped pave the route, he’s hopeful that more players from the west of the county can make an impact in City colours.
“Connor Ellis has shown it too,” he says, “there’s definitely talent down in West Cork.
“People have to believe and train as hard as they can, there’s definitely talent there, it’s about knowing you can push on and make the step up to playing at representative level and then hopefully with City after that.”