The 37-year-old was a powerhouse at midfield for City at the end of a stellar career which included stints with Celtic, Sunderland and Ipswich, and 13 senior caps for Ireland. Caulfield revealed Healy’s influence was as important in how he conducted himself off the field as how he ran a game on it.
“I remember when I was appointed manager, the season was over about three weeks and lads like Daryl Horgan and Shane Duggan had left the club and we were in very difficult times,” said Caulfield.
“But we still had a player of Colin Healy’s stature and he was a top player. He was a phenomenal person to have around the club, very quiet and unassuming, but what a character to have behind the scenes and in the dressing room. He seldom did interviews, he was a very private man but he did great work for this club.”
Healy suffered two leg breaks, but still returned to perform to the highest level.
“He played for Ireland, played at the highest level with Celtic, Ipswich and Sunderland and while he was unlucky with some of his serious injuries, he decided to come back home and play for his home-town club and to win an FAI Cup winners medal in his final game was the perfect ending for him. It meant so much to him, and he had his young lad on the pitch with him, after the final whistle,” said Caulfield.
“We have great players associated with us like Dan Murray, Alan Bennett and Mark McNulty in the team but Colin Healy was unique and he was a joy to work with on a daily basis.”
The Cork City manager explained Healy was a vital leader in the dressing room.
“He’s a fabulous guy and he made a big impression on the younger lads here. Everyone knew that when Colin spoke to you, or gave you sound advice, you took it on board.”
“He was an incredible player for us and he was part of that instant changeover from mediocrity when we took over to a decent side and he’s made a huge contribution to Cork City FC. I think we all remember that famous overhead kick against St Pat’s at the Shed End.”
Healy already has experience as a coach, particularly with Ballincollig AFC’s underage set-up.
“He has so much more to give and to offer this club. He’s a UEFA A licence holder and he would be a huge boost for us to have him in a coaching role one day,” added Caulfield. “He could be a future manager of the club if he wanted to go down that road but we’d hope to get him back on board in a coaching capacity. It has to suit him and fit into his family life and so on,” he said.