STEVEN BEATTIE admits that it was a tough decision to re-join Cork City now that the club is in the SSE Airtricity League First Division, but he is keen to do all that he can to help the Rebel Army return to the top flight.
Beattie played for City between 2015 and 2018, winning the league and FAI Cup double in 2017 as well another cup medal in 2016, before departing to join Chattanooga Red Wolves of the United Soccer League in America.
Immensely popular with fans on Leeside, there had been hopes that the Skerries native could return.
While there was an opportunity to join teams in the Premier Division, ultimately the appointment of Colin Healy as City manager swung things for Beattie.
“It was tough, 100 percent,” he says.
“I always said that I wouldn’t sign for another League of Ireland club, and when I said that, at the end of 2018, you never would have foreseen that City would be in the first division.
"Everything fell into place with Colin taking the job, that was big for me, and getting involved with the U19s too is a perfect scenario.”
Now, the challenge is to ensure that City’s stay in the second tier will be short and it’s one that Beattie is relishing.
“Colin knows exactly what I can do on and off the pitch,” he says.
"What I can bring from a professional point of view to help the younger lads through.
“I think the overall project – being that leader in the dressing room, trying to get the club back into the Premier Division – appealed.
“I had the mentality that, if I went back for the year or two years, if I was to help the club get back up, that would just be legendary stuff.
“The heart wouldn’t have been in it playing elsewhere.
"I don’t think I’d have enjoyed my football and the relationship I have with the City fans is just unreal.
"At this stage of my career, it wouldn’t have made sense to blot what I had done with City and go elsewhere for the sake of a year.”