JAKE Hegarty makes the move to Cobh Ramblers eagerly anticipating the next chapter of his footballing career in the League Of Ireland.
Hegarty spent the past number of seasons at Munster Senior League Premier Division side Midleton FC and was very much a regular goalscorer.
The striker makes the move to the St Colman’s Park club in determined mood and hoping to find the net regularly in 2021, in what looks like being an ultra-competitive First Division.
“I cannot express how exciting it actually is. Over the last few days, since I signed with Cobh, my phone was hopping.
"People around here are delighted for me and it makes you want to make the family proud. I just want to get going and the hard work doesn’t stop now, I want to be on the team and scoring a few goals. I just can’t wait for it to start to be honest.”
Hegarty has been in pre-season training with his new teammates at Cobh over the past couple of weeks, with preparations for the new League Of Ireland season well underway at this stage.
There will be a number of pre-season games against League of Ireland Premier Division opposition for Hegarty to try and make an early impression also in the coming weeks.
“I’ve coped well. There is a faster tempo to the game and the intensity of training is very sharp.
“When I first heard about possibly coming to Cobh Ramblers, I was training myself at home and doing what I could. It was strange in lockdown out road-running, doing some online coaching and doing gym work from home.
“I had to sharpen up when I knew I was coming here. It’s paid off and I’ve settled in well so far. There is a step up in intensity definitely, but I’m fitting in well.
“I know I am new coming into the squad, but I think for the squad the promotion and the playoffs are a minimum.
“You have to think high and the whole squad are thinking like that. We are all well capable and we are all good enough.”
The 26-year-old helped Midleton to the 2017/18 Munster Senior League Premier Division title and also played his role in their decent FAI Intermediate Cup runs in recent years.
Reflecting on his time with Midleton and his standout memories with the Knockgriffin Park club, Hegarty feels the club have played a very significant role in the development of his career.
“Midleton have made me. The standout moment was winning the Munster Senior League with Midleton and we had some top-class players in the team at the time.
“I’ve always set targets for myself personally. In the last few years with Midleton, the target was to get into double figures for goals, and if I didn’t I saw it as a failure.
“With Cobh Ramblers in the League of Ireland there are more games so hopefully I get to play and score as many that I can.”
All roads for Ramblers on the opening night will lead to Turner's Cross, as they face Cork City in a much anticipated local derby clash.
Hegarty found the back of the net last year for Midleton twice against City in the Munster Senior Cup semi-final.
Looking ahead to that crunch clash on March 26 with City, Hegarty declares:
“You can’t but get excited for a game like that. It has been 13 years since there has been a league game between Cobh and Cork. It is very exciting.
“We all want to be in that starting team for the match. There will be good bragging rights for whoever comes out on top in that game.
A number of players have made that move from the Munster Senior League in recent years to the League Of Ireland to ignite their careers. Sean McLoughlin, now Hull City, is a prime example a few years ago when he moved from UCC to Cork City.
Hegarty now makes a similar move from Midleton and he will be hoping to be a potent goal scorer for Cobh Ramblers in the 2021 League Of Ireland First Division season.