HE hadn’t always intended to follow in the footsteps of his father; in fact, he enjoyed playing in midfield and sometimes as a defender.
However, at the age of 14 and filling in for the regular team keeper who was on holiday, Dave Harrington found himself between the posts and enjoying it.
He has been there ever since, much to the delight of his dad, the former Cork City number one, Phil Harrington.
The 19-year-old is currently part of Colin Healy’s squad at Cork City, who face Cobh Ramblers in their First Division opener on Friday, though the competition is strong for the number one slot at the moment with Mark McNulty and Paul Hunt.
Harrington clearly has huge potential, having started out with Douglas Hall before progressing to Cobh Ramblers and then City.
“I started out with Douglas Hall, where I was initially a midfielder or a centre-half and we had some fantastic years with some great squads,” said Harrington.
At the age of 14, I went in goal as our keeper was on holidays and I really enjoyed it and decided it was a position I was most comfortable with, so I decided to stay there, much to the delight of my old man.
“I played with Cobh Ramblers at U17 level and it was a great experience. I then got the opportunity to sign for Cork City and I grabbed it. It was great for me to see that Colin Healy rated me, and since I have been playing under him, he has been a massive influence on my progress.
“He continues to push me to be the best I can and the great thing about him is that he always puts the players first.
“My dad, to be fair to him, has probably had the biggest influence on me, but he had no say really in what position I played, he just wanted me to play football and enjoy it, but when I turned into a goalkeeper he became more observant and critical.
“He is by far my harshest critic but is also my biggest supporter as I know that what he is saying is correct and he knows the position so well that everything he says I listen to.
“At the time it might be harsh and I might not agree, but in the long run he’s only saying it to improve me because he wants to see me doing well."
He joined City in 2018 when he was going into my first year at U19 level.
"I played two seasons of U19s and then in November of 2019, I signed my first professional contract with the first team.
“The experience I gained at U19 level is invaluable. We had an excellent side and it helped me develop hugely as a player and it definitely prepared me for life in senior football.
“This is my second year and I am learning every day and working to improve. I initially started training with the first team in 2018 under John Caulfield on the days I wouldn’t be in school.
“I played a few friendlies and a few Munster Senior Cup games which were great and helped me get a taste of first-team football.
“I think since joining the club I am now a completely different goalkeeper in terms of how much I have improved and that is down to working so closely with great coaches like my dad, Eddie Hickey, and Colm Bermingham.
“They have really pushed me on and developed me so much and they are a big part of how I have improved.
“Also learning from experienced goalkeepers every day is a massive help; training with Nults, Hunty, Tadgh Ryan, and even my time with Peter Cherrie; all these lads have given me so much invaluable advice that has really helped my career so far.
“At the moment now I’m just working hard and trying to do my best to get into the team, but we are a tight-knit group, training is brilliant, the standard is very good so we are all pushing each other to be better. Hunty, Nults, and I all get on very well and whoever plays the other two are happy for them and hoping they do well.
“At the end of the day it’s about results and if we get a win we are all happy.
Of course I want to play, but if I’m not picked I have to just keep working hard to ensure I get an opportunity.”
Goalkeeping is completely different to other positions on the pitch. You are criticised by everyone and every second person seems to have an opinion.
“They’re usually people who are have never played in the position or know nothing about goalkeeping. It’s also different in the way of getting into the team, if the number one gets injured or is not picked and you get a chance, you have to take your opportunity and try stay in there as only one can play.
“So you must keep positive and keep working harder and harder until your opportunity comes.”
The transition to the first team from underage is tricky, particularly with restricted playing time.
“I knew I wasn’t going to walk straight into the team so I have been biding my time. By not playing every week it only encourages me to work harder so that I am ready when I get the chance.
“My aim is to play as many games as possible and hopefully help the team as much as I can, but our aim as a team is to try and finish high up the table as we can and hopefully be there or thereabouts come the end of the season. I can’t wait for Friday’s game.”