Staying in education and playing League of Ireland underage is a solid path for young Cork soccer players

New Cobh Ramblers U19 manager Darren Murphy believes in current system 
Staying in education and playing League of Ireland underage is a solid path for young Cork soccer players

Cobh Ramblers' Darren Murphy gets away from Cork City's' Eoin Ross in an U17 league game at Bishopstown. Picture: Gavin Browne

HEADING into his new role as the head coach of the Cobh Ramblers U19 side, Darren Murphy is someone who brings a significant amount of experience and knowledge to share.

In his own playing career in England while at Stevenage, Murphy won trophies at iconic footballing arenas in England such as Wembley (2009 FA Trophy) and also Old Trafford (2011 League Two playoff final).

Having also played domestically for both Ramblers and Cork City, Murphy in more recent times has been coaching in the Munster Senior League with Cobh Wanderers.

Darren Murphy in action for Cork City in 2014. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Darren Murphy in action for Cork City in 2014. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

Now the task for Murphy will be to prepare players for first-team League Of Ireland football and beyond.

“My role at the moment is to get as many players into the Cobh Ramblers first team as possible, but also to make them better people, to try and improve as a person and as a player.

“These are young lads who are just starting their careers and making that decision between what they want to do after school and in terms of college.

“They all want to be a professional footballer at the end of the day and that is something I want to help them with as much as I can.

“Cobh Ramblers gave me that opportunity when I was a young player. So I just want to give back as much as I can now really to the lads.

Former Stevenage defender Darren Murphy tackles Southend United's Francis Laurent.
Former Stevenage defender Darren Murphy tackles Southend United's Francis Laurent.

“I have been through a lot of it and I will advise players in a way. But I don’t think I can necessarily put out their path for them.

“I can give them my experience and knowledge as a coach. I could be dealing with a player who is twice the player I ever was, so you can’t change them too much.

“So I would be there for them, just trying to grow them as a person. There is a lot around just the football side of players and stuff like that.

“You are there to guide them as much as you can and hopefully they choose the right path and they go down the right path themselves as well.”

Jaze Kabia, who came through from the Cobh Ramblers U17s right up to the first-team level, now is impressing in the Scottish Premiership with Livingston, after a stint of League Of Ireland Premier Division football at Shelbourne. Kabia is a good source of inspiration for the Cobh U19s players as to what can be possible through hard work and development.

“This is what you need, you need players to look up to as well. Players who have gone on and got that opportunity.

“They need to realise and understand that is a possibility for them. 

Jaze is a great example, playing at Cobh Ramblers a few years ago. Now he is playing in the Scottish Premier League making his debut against Celtic.

“So that dream is there or that possibility is there for these lads. So it is something brilliant for them to see.

“Facilities and structures need to improve in Ireland as well. If you look in any other countries, they have real professional outfits with really good facilities.

“That is something we need to improve on as a whole in the country. But it is a good way to go. You can become a professional footballer on your own doorstep.” 

Darren Murphy was sent off for a second yellow card after scoring the winner against Sligo. Picture: Brian Lougheed
Darren Murphy was sent off for a second yellow card after scoring the winner against Sligo. Picture: Brian Lougheed

Murphy is very much focused on the coaching side of the game now, having most recently managed Cobh Wanderers in the Munster Senior League.

As for how preparations for the 2021 are going, Murphy outlines how the Cobh U19s are doing their best to keep ticking over in the current restrictions.

“We have had to adapt the same as any other team. Using Zoom is a help in that kind of a way. We would love to be able to meet lads, but it is just not possible in this climate.

“We have been doing Zooms and keeping ticking over. At the end of the day, the U19s are classed as elite athletes, so they have to step up to that title of being elite as well and they have to work off the pitch. 

“In this climate exercise is really important for them and their mental health. They are all chomping at the bit to get back.

“So we are doing regular check-ins with them and we will be over the coming weeks as well. Hopefully, we can get a start date for going back soon.”

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