Colin Healy relishing the challenge as Cork City bid to escape First Division

Ballincollig native has assemmbled a squad based on young talent
Colin Healy relishing the challenge as Cork City bid to escape First Division

Cork City manager Colin Healy reacts to a goal chance during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Cork City and Waterford at Turners Cross in Cork. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

MANAGING Cork City was something at which Colin Healy always felt he’d like to have a shot and, even though he mightn’t have chosen these exact circumstances, he’s ready to give his all for the club.

When Neale Fenn departed in October, Healy was the choice as interim manager for the club’s last five league games and, though he was unable to avoid relegation, he was the popular choice of the club’s board of management.

Grovemoor Ltd, who were hoping to complete a takeover of the club from Foras, were also open to Healy taking charge on a permanent basis, though uncertainty as to whether the change of ownership would be completed was a factor in the delay of the announcement.

Thankfully, all was sorted on December 24 and the former Republic of Ireland international has been busy since then, securing the services of many of last year’s squad.

“It was done on Christmas Eve and it was more or less straight to work then after that,” he says.

“It was a case of speaking to the players and seeing what could be done. 

With the takeover and all that kind of stuff in the background, there were a lot of people worried about what was happening, players didn’t know what they were doing.

“When I did get the job then, it was a case of getting the head down, getting to work and speaking to the players as quickly as possible.”

Having already held down the role of academy head, it was a wrench to leave that job, but the chance to be the boss was too good to turn down.

“I love the academy,” Healy says. “I was there for two or three years and I really enjoyed it. 

"We had a lot of good coaches and good players and I met some really nice people there. 

“I got into the interim role with the first team for the last five or six weeks of the season.  I know it was difficult times and obviously relegation wasn’t good but I enjoyed it and I got a good buzz from it.

“I felt that if the job did come up for me, I would definitely be interested in it and luckily it did.”

Healy scoring a classic winner against St Pat's. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Healy scoring a classic winner against St Pat's. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Healy has already re-signed Mark McNulty, Uniss Kargbo, Ronan Hurley, Rob Slevin, Gearóid Morrissey, Cian Coleman, Beineón O’Brien-Whitmarsh, Cian Bargary, David Harrington, Cory Galvin, Dale Holland, Alec Byrne, Darragh Crowley, Josh Honohan and Cian Murphy while former Cobh Ramblers goalkeeper Paul Hunt has joined, too.

With uncertainty on when the SSE Airtricity League season will start, though, pre-season training has yet to start.

“We haven’t put a fixed date on it yet,” Healy says.

“It’s looking like the league is going back another two or three weeks, I think they’re looking at around March 26.

“We’re still 12 weeks out from that so it would be too early to be back.”

Healy’s previous job ensures that, if internal reinforcements are needed during the season, there will be a clear pathway.

“I know all the kids in the academy, it was my job to do that,” he says. “I know all of the players in the U17s and the U19s, there’s some fantastic talent in there. 

"They’re still young at the moment, but the academy is in a very good position. I’ve been there and I know the kids, so that’s a big help if I need to tap into the underage set-up.”

However, while City’s relegations brought calls for regrouping, Healy knows that it’s never the case that things can be taken easily.

There’s always expectations at Cork City.

“I keep going back to this but we didn’t have a great season last year. We just have to put a team together at the moment and we’ll just see how things go.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about three points. There are going to be different styles of play, you can’t just stick to one. 

"There will be different tactics, when you’re playing different teams you’re going to have make changes.

“That’s just the way it is, it’s about trying to find a solution to win three points. That’s what we’ll do.”

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