IN this still-nascent season, two games have yielded two goals and two assists for Kieran Sadlier.
While his two goals – a 30-yard curler against Dundalk in the President’s Cup and the winner against St Patrick’s Athletic from a corner kick – were scored with his right foot, his assists for Barry McNamee and Graham Cummins against the Lilywhites were both left-footed crosses.
Even at the top level, commentators will make allowances for mistakes by players because “it was on his bad foot”, but with practice, it’s possible to become ambidextrous.
In his early years at Manchester United, George Best would train with a plimsoll on his right foot to force himself to use his left and 20 years later Denis Irwin showed no signs of right-footed dominance as he became the best left-back in England.
For Sadlier, hard work has paid off too, with his versatility having been a motivating factor.
His ability to cut in from the left also has benefits for the overlapping tendencies of left-back Shane Griffin behind him.
“I’ve played both sides,” Sadlier says, “I’ve played through the middle as well, so I’ve always worked on my weaker foot and I’d say I’m near enough as strong on my left as I am on my right in a lot of situations on the pitch.
“I’m confident of using it and changing the way I play, so that just comes through what I practised when I was younger.
“Shane’s and out-and-out left-back, he can also get round and put crosses in if I go inside. It’s good to have him behind me.”
Having already been familiar with Griffin, a strong understanding has built up in the relatively short space of time in which Sadlier has been with City.
“I played with Shane in the Ireland underage teams as well, so I know him a few years,” he says.
“We played against each other a couple of times in England, but we’re good friends off the pitch as well, I’ve a good relationship with him.”
Last Friday, Sadlier found himself playing through the middle at times after City were reduced to ten men against St Pat’s.
He admits that it was a slog, but acknowledges the important of a strong collective defensive effort.
“Against a team like Pat’s, who like to keep the ball, it’s always going to be tougher,” he says.
“I do think that, when we down to ten men, we were probably more organised in defence because we knew exactly what we had to do, just line out in front of them and not let anything through.
“To be fair to us, we did that and Nults didn’t have much to do after the goal. We defended quite well when we went down to ten.”
After Conan Byrne had scored a goal for Pat’s to make it 2-2 early in the second half, it meant that City’s plan had to change on the hoof. Sadlier feels that it showed the deep reserves of character within the team.
“It’s obviously annoying when you plan to go out there and not concede and you’ve left in a goal within a minute,” he says.
“It’s frustrating but you can easily pack up and think, ‘Oh no, we’re not going to win this game’, you could walk away and say that you went down a man and use that as an excuse.
“The boys in the team aren’t about that, they want to win every single game, they proved that last year, I think it was away to Finn Harps they had a man sent off and still came away with the points.
“They’ve done it before and we’ve proven we can do it again.”