SUCCESS and progress have always been part of his coaching career.
Having worked at levels from schoolboy to League of Ireland, and now in the Munster Senior League, Martin Cambridge continues to develop players as he strives to bring Castleview back to the top tier of football in Cork.
The Churchfield man has been managing the northside team since 2017, with the objective of returning to the Premier Division, which was in his reach before the league halted because of the pandemic.
“I have been with Castleview since 2017 and my initial aim was to settle the team and build their confidence,” said Cambridge. “From here, the goal is promotion to the Premier.
“My first season, we finished third and reached the Keane Cup final, while also reaching the last 32 in the Intermediate Cup. In my second season, we narrowly missed out on promotion by a point and again reached the last 32 of the Intermediate Cup. The following year, we were well placed, before the season came to a halt over the coronavirus pandemic.
“If the season resumes, as we hope it does, our goals of promotion are still the same,” Cambridge said.
Promotion is the aim for us, as Castleview is a big club; one of the biggest in the northside.
"It has a lot of home-grown talent and we need to be in the Premier League. Blarney, Leeds, Mayfield, and Everton will have the same aim as us for promotion and, therefore, it will be a challenge, but one in which we have been building on for the past few seasons.”
Cambridge started out his coaching career with Nufarm Athletic schoolboys, where he won his first trophy alongside Martin O’Leary. Those great days motivated him to progress in his coaching career.
“We had great days with Nufarm. Myself and Martin (O’Leary) won the club’s first trophy, with the U16 team,” Cambridge said.
“At that time, you would be running two teams, odds and evens. You would be with the odds one week and evens the following week. They were happy days. After a successful few seasons, I then got involved with the Cork schoolboys and, in the inaugural year, we won the Munster championships. The second year, we won the All-Ireland final, beating the DDSL.”
With Grattan, and with Cobh Ramblers’ U19s, U21s, and seniors, Cambridge climbed the coaching ladder and gained invaluable experience. “I’ve been lucky to enjoy every coaching or managerial position I have held,” Cambridge said. “With every team and club, I have gained invaluable experience. 2007 was the real eye-opener for me, really, when I was appointed assistant manager of Cobh seniors.
“It was fantastic to see the different level of professionalism and attitude from the team. They were a fantastic bunch of players, who went on to win the First Division league and reached the semi-final of the league cup.”
The A-licence holder also spent a period in Waterford, with Stephen Henderson, before returning to Cork to take over St Mary’s. He then took over Ramblers’ U19s, winning the Enda McGill Cup, and was then appointed interim manager of the seniors. Now, Cambridge’s focus is on Castleview and he cannot wait to get back.
“The past year without football has been life-changing and hard to comprehend,” Cambridge said. “You have been doing something all your life and it gets taken away from you. We all need to go back playing football as soon as possible, as adults’ mental health is as important as anyone else’s. It’s not just the youths and elite who need to be playing: We all need to be playing.
“We have a very strong panel, with a lot of great players,” Cambridge said.
We are a very young team, but they are all local lads and all live within 10 minutes of our home pitch and that counts for a lot when you’re looking for heart on the pitch.
“Conor O’Mahony is our captain. He has been a part of the club since he was eight. Jason Magee, Patrick O’Donoughe, Timmy Power, David O’Keeffe, Kieran Kavanagh, Stewie Murphy, Corey Crowley have all been with the club since they were young kids. Podge has been our leading goalscorer since I have been at the club.
“Defensively, we look solid, with Ben Graham and Shane Hogan, two great ’keepers, and add to that Padraig Flynn will keep them on their toes,” Cambridge said.
“The defenders — Ian McConville, Corey Crowley, Dean Leahy, Steele Murphy, Dane Holland, and David Golden — are rock-solid. Jason Magee, Jasper, Evan Murray, and Kyle Lynch are workaholics in midfield.
“With the likes of Podge, Kiwi, Cuffy, Tucker, Owen Ryan, and Docka, you would always have a chance upfront. As you can see, we have a very strong panel. We also have four good youths, with Sean O’Mahony, Owen O’Connell, Jake Murray, and Darragh Clarke, who are keen to make the step-up,” Cambridge said.
“I also have a great backroom staff in Ian O’Brien, Sean Long, Henry Cullen, Dessie O’Neill, James Nagle, and Ronan Malone, who all have massive experience and bring a wealth of knowledge to the squad.
“Not to forget our hard-working committee, who work tirelessly to keep the club running. We’re indebted to these people. For them alone, I hope we can gain promotion and see this great club in the Premier Division sooner rather than later.”