Coaching is a passion for ambitious Craig Hurley

When soccer returns he'll be busy with Treaty United and Ringmahon Rangers
Coaching is a passion for ambitious Craig Hurley

Craig Hurley, head coach, Cork Central with Coerver, speaking with Liam, Jamie and Maurice who were taking part in the Avondale United and Coerver Coaching summer camp in Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.

WHEN sport resumes, he will be a busy man but Treaty United women’s U17 manager and Ringmahon Rangers junior boss Craig Hurley wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I will be on the pitch training five times a week, added with two games at the weekend. Needless to say, it will be hectic, but I am really looking forward to it.”

The 29-year-old father of two from Shanakiel has been heavily involved in soccer with various clubs most notably Ringmahon, Kilreen, Cork Youths, Cobh Ramblers and Cork City women’s U17s. With each club, he has gained a lot of experience and the UEFA B holder continues to strive to pursue his dream of maybe one day coaching at international level.

“I’m hoping to get on my UEFA A licence when the opportunity arises and keep growing as a coach. I do hope to one day do my Pro Licence also as I want to test myself at the highest level. 

The dream is to coach at international level or even coach at a club such as Liverpool. 

"That’s the dream and hopefully someday I can make it a reality. Anyone who knows me knows how hard I work so I’ll never give up on those goals.” 

Like for many, the past 12 months have been a real challenge for Hurley however online Zoom classes and preparation for the season ahead have been a welcomed distraction.

“The past 12 months have been so crazy and something nobody could have ever predicted but it was definitely a way for us all to grow as people first but then as coaches. 

"We did training sessions, quizzes and meetings through Zoom and although it was something I’d never really been interested in doing as I prefer to be on a pitch with the players, it was a learning curve and it certainly helped me through this past difficult year.

“As manager of both the Ringmahon men's junior premier team and Treaty women’s U17s, it’s been challenging to keep players motivated when no dates have been given for a restart. With Treaty, we have tried to come up with all different ways to challenge the players and we have tried to be as creative as we could have been. 

"I’m definitely over it now though and can’t wait to be back on the pitch doing actual sessions and helping the players develop as much as we can.

“I think the first lockdown wasn’t that bad as I focused on a lot of things I needed to do, I did a lot of online work and courses and spent lots of time with my two daughters Ali and Keela. 

"The longer it has gone on, the tougher it’s been. Football is such a huge part of my life and not having it was taking a toll. I’m so happy to see that we possibly only have a few more weeks left before we can get back on the pitch again.” 

Although managing Treaty is a new challenge for Hurley and one which he is excited about, managing Ringmahon is a post he is also passionate about and hopes to get back to this summer.

“I absolutely love managing the Ringmahon lads. In my opinion, it’s the best club in Cork and it’s still growing which is really exciting to be part of it. 

 Craig Hurley, Ringmahon Rangers, is held off the ball by Ian Long, College Corinthians during their Beamish Stout Junior Premier Division match at Castle Road. Picture: Dan Linehan
Craig Hurley, Ringmahon Rangers, is held off the ball by Ian Long, College Corinthians during their Beamish Stout Junior Premier Division match at Castle Road. Picture: Dan Linehan

"We haven’t done much in lockdown now to be fair as it’s difficult to get lads motivated when no set date has been given for a return but when it does, we’ll be happy to get back. I hope to challenge for league and be as competitive as we can and push the cups all the way too. 

"We have a young team but they are hungry and great for learning so I’m very lucky to have such a good committed squad and they are a really close group.

“There’s no doubt I’ll be a busy man once everything returns, but I just need to make sure that I’m organised and I’ve got good people who I can trust around me so I know it’s all being done to the best of my ability. 

"I also coach with Coerver Coaching so I’m very busy to be fair but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I finish work early so I can still collect the girls from school and get quality time in with them as well.

“With Treaty as it’s underage football in the League of Ireland I hope I can have the same impact I’ve had at City and try help as many girls break into the senior squad and getting as many of them capped internationally as we can while developing them as people and players. 

If we pick up trophies along the way happy days but once they are developing and having fun while doing so then it’s a success. 

"We have signed an excellent squad for the season and we are very confident in the group."

Craig Hurley when he was involved with Cork City.
Craig Hurley when he was involved with Cork City.

It’s an exciting time for him. 

"I am lucky to have worked with so many great coaches over the years who I have learned so much from. Greg Duggan, James Fogarty, Jason Brown, Mick Collins, Darren Dennehy, Shane Hurley, Dean Buckley, Cian O’Brien, Cian Forde, Dylan Collins, Danny Quinlan, Marc O’Donovan, Sarah Healy and Ronan Collins. I’ve tried to take at least one thing from each coach along the way and keep growing as a coach and develop as a person.

"I’m looking forward to the season ahead.”

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