JIMMY KEOHANE rubbed shoulders with Jordan Henderson, Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll and Maxi Rodriquez when he made his professional debut for Exeter City in a League Cup tie against Liverpool at St James’ Park back in August, 2011.
One of Cork City's newest recruits, Keohane is vastly experienced and used to taking on the top players. He had six years in England with Bristol City, Exeter City and Woking.
That means the 26-year-old wide man from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire won’t feel in the least bit out of place if John Caulfield names him in the Cork City team to play champions Dundalk at Turner’s Cross on Saturday (3pm, live on RTE2).
“I had the option to stay on in cross-channel football but the most appealing thing in coming back to Ireland was with Cork City in European football. When I came back first to Sligo Rovers it was a type of building season for me and I just wanted regular football. I played in almost every game and that made a change after a few years where I was in and out of teams in England.
“I am looking to push on again now but having Cork in the Europa League in the summer is a big plus and it’s a chance for me to test myself at a higher level again. All the lads talk about Genk and they are still motoring well in this year’s Europa League and into the quarter-finals,” said Keohane ahead of Saturday’s big TV clash.
“I am loving it here in Cork. It’s been very enjoyable and all the better given the good start we have made to the season. It has all helped me get settled in and everyone has welcomed me and accommodated me.
“It’s a step up for me from last year at Sligo Rovers and we are challenging for the league title here. I have come into a team that is a lot more competitive and I just want to push myself and my career on now,” he said.
“My hope is to stay in the team and do what I can to bring success to the club. I have a few lads here from the sunny south-east in Greg Bolger, Ryan Delaney and Kevin O’Connor from Wexford and, of course, Seanie Maguire is from Kilkenny.
“It’s a very competitive squad but that’s what you need when you are going for the league title and the Cup competitions and I was pleased to establish myself in the side. It’s what brings players on and makes them better players and I have really enjoyed that competitive side of it on the training ground,” said the ex-Belvedere and Evergreen man who won five Irish U19 caps.
“I am taking it game-by-game but I want to nail down my spot in the team. I am happy with my performances so far and I was delighted to be involved in Stephen Dooley’s lob against Galway. My best position is as an attacking midfielder, trying to get forward and get a few goals or assists,” added Keohane.