ON THE eve of another League of Ireland campaign, Cork City goalkeeper Mark McNulty doesn’t have any secrets to reveal as to how he has managed to continue playing into his 40s.
City begin life in the First Division against local rivals Cobh Ramblers tomorrow night at Turners Cross and McNulty, who turned 40 last October, believes the work they have done in pre-season has them well prepared for the season ahead.
“There’s no real reason why I’m still playing at my age. I’m not one of these players that does yoga or goes into the gym half an hour before training to stretch.
“Maybe I should but then again, it’s probably a bit late at this stage, I just make sure I stay fit and try and train every day. I’ve not missed many games in my career through injury.
“I have a good diet but nothing like some of the other lads in the club, who watch everything they eat. I still feel very fit. I’m still managing to stay at the top of the running with the younger lads in pre-season. I feel as good as I have in the last 10 years.
“It’s been a tough pre-season but there is nothing wrong with that. There’s no excuse why teams shouldn’t work hard in pre-season to try and be the fittest team in the league.”
McNulty has played with new manager Colin Healy since his underage days in Ballincollig.
“As a player, Healers was one of those players that put everything in training and games. He always trained the way he played games and he’s the same as a manager.
The lads might have found it tough, but Healers isn’t asking the players to do anything he didn’t do himself.
"I don’t think we would be doing too bad if we had a squad that mirrored Healers as a player.”
McNulty will continue his role as player-coach this season and the goalkeeper is enjoying working with fellow keepers Paul Hunt and David Harrington. Having been mentored by Harrington’s father Phil, McNulty is enjoying the opportunity to return the favour and help David progress in football.
“I enjoy the coaching side of the game. I’m constantly learning whether that be watching matches, to see how different keepers operate or looking up goalkeeping sessions online. With Hunt and David, it’s great working with them because Hunt has a lot of experience and has had a good career whereas David, is only starting out.
“With David, Biscuits was my goalkeeper coach and someone I have a very good relationship with and it’s nice to be able to try and develop David and help him the way his dad helped me.
“I’ve watched both David and Paul in pre-season games and take notes and then watch the game back and talk the lads through points I feel we need to talk about.
“I pick points that I feel they should do better on but I do like to show what they do well as well because I think a lot of time in football now, players don’t get told when they are doing well. Players want to be told when they have done sometime right and it helps build confidence.”
McNulty first experienced life in the First Division in 2010: “I remember looking at the teams in the league before the First Division started in 2010 and thought; that team is good, that team have good players, and it’s similar again this season.
“Shelbourne have brought in some very good players and I think they have a better squad than they did last season but then you look at teams like Galway and Bray who done well in the division last year and have recruited well. Athlone have brought in some good experienced players and with Treaty United, you don’t know what exactly they are going to be like and could surprise a few teams.
“The First Division has always been competitive, but I think this year, there are a number of teams capable of winning the league or going up through the playoffs. It’s important we get off to a good start with the derby tomorrow against Cobh Ramblers.
“They have brought in a lot of new faces and I expect them to be pushing for promotion. It’s going to be a difficult game and one I’m looking forward to.”