IT was a great week to return to training, with the beautiful sunshine we have been blessed with since Monday evening.
April 26 was the date for non-contact training to resume for underage players around the country.
Head of academy for Cork City FC, Liam Kearney, was busy for the past few months, organising his staff, as the club’s boys will compete at U14, U15, U17, and U19 level this season, while the girls will field teams at U17 and U19 level.
There have been plenty of changes in the academy over the close season, Kearney having made a number of managerial switches in January.
The Conna man was thrilled to have players back on the pitches this week and he looks forward to the season ahead.
“I am delighted that we are able to get the lads back on the pitch,” said Kearney.
“They have worked very hard over the last couple of months with their strength-and-conditioning coaches, through Zooms and individual training programmes.
“Everyone, now, is looking forward to the season ahead and working towards getting back to competitive action.”
Former club captain, Dan Murray, will take charge of the men’s U19 team for the 2021 season. Murray made over 300 appearances for the Rebel Army, as a player, and captained the club to a league title in 2005, the FAI Cup in 2007, and Setanta Sports Cup in 2008. He is also the club’s top scorer in European competitions.
Murray will be assisted by two of his former teammates, Alan Bennett and Steven Beattie, with Paul Howard as strength-and-conditioning coach. Beattie returned to the club this season, following two years with the Chattanooga Red Wolves, where he coached in their academy.
Beattie also coached the Cork Kennedy Cup team in 2018.
Bennett retired from playing at the end of 2020, but quickly returned to the club to take up a coaching role with the U19s. He was assistant to David Moore with Cork City’s U13s in 2019. Paul Howard was previously strength-and-conditioning coach with Fermoy GAA club, as well with the Tipperary senior footballers.
David Moore will manage the club’s U17 side for the coming season, having overseen the U15 and U13 teams over the last two seasons. The former Celtic youth player played League of Ireland football with Cork City and Waterford.
Moore brings with him his coaching team from last season. Kevin Ronayne has vast coaching experience at underage level, with Cobh Ramblers, College Corinthians, and with Douglas Community School, where he is also a physical education teacher.
Steve Barry will work with the group as strength-and-conditioning coach. Steve is managing director at Dennehy’s Health and Fitness. Ian Giltinan (goalkeeping coach) is a former underage goalkeeper with the club, who also represented the Republic of Ireland at U15 and U16 level.
Des O’Neill will be video analyst this season and is at the club for a third year. He previously coached at schoolboy level at Carrigaline United.
Stephen Bermingham returns to the club this season, as manager of the U15 side. Bermingham previously managed the U19 team, including the squad that played in the UEFA Youth League in 2016.
He spent last season in charge of the Cork Schoolboys’ League Kennedy Cup squad. Joining Stephen will be Colm Bermingham, who was goalkeeping coach with the U19 team last season, former Cork City goalkeeper Kevin O’Brien, Shane Healy, Conor Cremen, and video analyst Owen Hetherington.
Cork City FC will compete at U14 level this season, following the FAI decision to move the U13 grade up a year, and Greg Yelverton will take charge of the group again.
Greg is a UEFA Pro Licence holder who works as a soccer-development officer with University College Cork. He is head coach of the Irish Colleges and University team. Greg will retain the same coaching staff as last year.
John Harrington, strength and conditioning, has a master’s degree in the science of strength and conditioning and has a wealth of experience in the area. The coaching team also consists of Kevin O’Brien, Cian O’Brien, and video analyst Fionn Foley Twomey.
Sarah Healy’s U17 girls’ team also returned to training this week.
Healy will again be assisted by Michael Collins. Chelsea Noonan is assistant coach, while Ross Moynihan is strength-and-conditioning coach. Niamh Kelly will act as video analyst for the U17s this season.
City will also field a team in the new U19 Women’s National League, with Jess Lawton managing the side. Lawton has experience playing and coaching with her local club, Youghal United, in the Second Divison of the CWSSL.
She’ll be assisted by Michael O’Sullivan, who has vast experience managing with Riverstown FC in the Cork Women’s and Schoolgirls’ Soccer League.
Fergal Duffy is goalkeeping coach. Duffy plays with Cork City in the National Amputee League and is an Irish international. Jake Cooper (S&C), Charley Moore (coach), and Eileen Foyle (video analysis) round off Lawton’s management team for 2021.
Cork Credit Unions will proudly be displayed on the jerseys of all the academy teams again this season, both boys’ and girls’. They’ll be joined on the jersey by new partner, Oxford Recruitment.