CELEBRATING 70 years in football this year, Ringmahon FC continue to develop great people as well as great players.
Most noticeably the likes of Alan Browne, Caoimhin Kelleher and Gearoid Morrissey really have put this great club on the map. And it all started for them as young kids coached and guided by the club’s great volunteers.
Nothing has changed in that sense, where there are still great volunteers who give up their time so willingly. Yes, they may now be a little more qualified as coaches, but they still operate on the same basis: to provide the kids with a safe and fun environment to play ball.
Having held many different roles within the club, Kieran Brett certainly fits the bill.
Brett is currently the over35s manager, while also overseeing the U16 team which is run by Paul Lawlor and Caoilte Hayes. He's a firm believer in the development of the club and the importance of providing football to the kids of the area.
“It’s a great club to be part of, a club that are always looking out for the best interests of their players.
"The main goal we set out as a club from the start of academy level and right through is that we can provide a safe and happy environment place for the players to train in, where everyone is involved, with access to an individual football and team structure is built from then on.
From various positions within the club, such as schoolboys chairman, junior manager, senior assistant manager and schoolboys manager, Brett knows it inside out and appreciates what makes it stand out from all the rest at times. That's why he tries to give so much back to his beloved Ringmahon.
“I have enjoyed the various roles I have held and currently hold at the club. It’s always great to give a little back to a club who do so much for the kids in the community. I have managed teams since I was 16 and have gained so much experience along the way with different age groups. But I am thoroughly enjoying my current role as over35s manager.
“The over 35s has been run between myself and club legend Brian Kenny since we first registered a team. Over the time it has featured mainly players who have come through the ranks in Ringmahon and we currently have five or six lads that were actually in the same class at school, the same can be said of previous teams.
“The squad would be mostly lads who grew up in the area and seeing as they now all live in different areas of Cork it’s great to see them come back to their roots as it’s a great chance to meet up and have a bit of craic. The age ranges between 35 and 52.
"It has been a fantastic league to date, super competitive. You get no easy games and that adds to the level of commitment from players. Throughout the league, it's a very level playing field, but over the years trophies would be shared out, which just shows you how little there is between the teams. We have won the league and Cup a couple of times over the years and are currently awaiting the top four playoff for the league.”
The former chairman of the schoolboys section, Brett stresses the importance of a good foundation at a club.
“There were a big bunch from the club, such as myself, Paul Higgins and John Kenny to name a few, who put a huge emphasis on the importance of having a good academy and at the time our aim was to have Premier teams at all ages within 10 years.
"I am proud to say we achieved this, through hard work, commitment and dedication. This has hugely benefitted our adult teams. I went on to be involved in the adult teams and lucky enough to manage a really good junior side that got promoted to the MSL Premier League after winning the First Division while also winning a Junior League Cup.
"I was then the senior assistant manager in a year we were beaten in a play-off to win the First Division. The team I'm currently with at U16 are lads that I have overseen since from the age of five.
"Hopefully, they’ll carry on right through our first team."
The Cork Schoolboys League has produced a fixture list from April 6, though that will be moved back if necessary.
"They have done a great job in doing so and I'm holding out hope we can get back to finishing it off by June as it's a very important aspect for all communities to have kids back playing and interacting with their friends.
“Over the recent years, we've developed some exciting talent. The flag bearers who have established themselves have been John Andrews, Gearoid Morrissey, Alan Browne and Caomhín Kelleher.
"Players that have made careers out of football from coming through the ranks of our schoolboys are increasing. As well as the above-mentioned four, there's Fiachra Kelleher of Wrexham and Adam O’Reilly of Preston. You also have the League of Ireland players such as John Kavanagh, Stephen O'Leary, Cameron Harrelson, Uniss Kargbo, Oran Crowe and David Hurley.
"Most recently with the evolution of the underage League of Ireland, I think we've contributed over 15 players to Cork City and Cobh combined. Four were internationals, so I'd take it as a huge compliment to the job that has been done by the underage section of the club.”