DESPITE now being in his second season at Premier Division side St Patrick’s Athletic, Cork City remain close to the heart of Carrigaline’s Shane Griffin.
A league and cup winner with the Leesiders in 2017, the dependable Griffin was understandably disappointed to see them suffering relegation at the end of last year’s top-flight campaign.
“It’s a pity really, it wasn't nice to see Cork City getting relegated last year. Even for the league, Cork City is a big club with one of the biggest fanbases. It’s a big loss to the Premier Division, but a gain for the First Division,” Griffin said.
“Because you look at the teams down there now and the size of the clubs, it’s going to be a competitive league down there.
Since joining Pat’s in the winter of 2019, Griffin has faced intense competition from club captain Ian Bermingham for the Inchicore outfit’s left-back slot. Griffin is currently the preferred option for head coach Stephen O’Donnell (who lined out for Cork City during a glittering League of Ireland career), but the former Reading youth star is acutely aware that this could all change in an instant.
“Bermo has been great ever since I came to the club. I’ve always got on great with him. He’s always been a very good team player. If he’s not in the team, he’s always been training really well. He’s good around the place, he’s well capable of coming in and doing a good job for the team.
“I think it’s a good competition for places. We both know the position. It’s good for the manager to have the two of us here.”
Having shared the spoils with champions Shamrock Rovers on the opening day of the season, Pat’s will play their second Dublin derby of the new campaign away to Bohemians at Dalymount Park next Saturday.
Erratic form and results saw the Saints finishing sixth in the 2020 standings, but with a number of new recruits on board, Griffin is confident this season can be different.
“We’re definitely disappointed with how things ended last year. We were fairly inconsistent. We had a good few spells in games and then we’d lose a couple. We’re full of optimism really to try and have a good season this year,” Griffin added.
“We’re not a big squad number-wise, but I think as the gaffer [O’Donnell] said, everyone feels part of it. Everyone feels they’re close to the starting 11, whether they’re in the team or not. There is a good bond and there’s a good team spirit about the place this season.”