CORK CITY player Aaron Bolger is loving life on Leeside.
Bolger, who signed for the club last month after leaving Cardiff City, is enjoying every moment with City, and the lure of working with City manager Colin Healy again, as well as continuing as a full-time footballer, attracted Bolger to the club.
“It’s been good. I’m loving it down here at the minute. At the moment, I’m living with Sean Kennedy and Barry Coffey. I haven’t got a chance to get out and experience the city much yet because I haven’t been here that long.
"I worked with Colin for two years with the Ireland setup, so when my agent got onto me about Colin wanting me to come down; it was something I wanted straight away. It was something that really interested me.
“Staying in full-time football was a big thing for me. My agent and I spoke about the move and we both agreed that I needed to be involved in full-time football. Obviously, I was at Longford. It’s a great club and there were great people up there, but they are part-time and when my contract was finishing up with Cardiff, I wanted to go back into the full-time setup."
Bolger began his professional career with Shamrock Rovers before initially joining Cardiff on loan in 2019. The move was made permanent later that year, and Bolger admits that it was always his ambition to play in England, and still has hopes of returning there in the future.
“I wanted to go to England. Obviously, I was playing with Ireland, and all the boys were starting to get into first-team football in England. I felt that that was something that I needed to do. My agent got the word about and a few clubs wanted to sign me, and I ended up going to Cardiff.
“My agent was speaking to Preston before I joined Cardiff but their U23 team ended up folding. So, I went to Cardiff on loan. It was kind of a loan trail for six months. Then they wanted to sign me permanently after that.
“I initially went over to Cardiff on trial around Christmas time, and in January, they got back in contact and said they wanted me to go over for six months. When I was over on trial, I knew I was good enough to get a contract. I trained with the 23s but that isn’t what I want to do, I wanted to train with the first team.
“When I went in to train with the first team over there, training with Neil Warnock when he was manager, from training with Rovers every day, there wasn’t even that much of a step-up. I think people look down on the league over there.
"Obviously, there are unbelievable players over there but I think there are a few players over here that deserve their chance in England, but obviously, I didn’t get the breakthrough over there. It’s something that I would be looking to do in the future but at the moment, I’m just looking to get back to enjoying my football and playing well for Colin and the club."
At just 21, Bolger has had a lot of experiences throughout his career and has come up against hundreds of talented players. One player that Bolger has faced and sticks in his mind is recent Manchester United signing Jadon Sancho, who Bolger faced when playing for the Republic of Ireland’s U17 team against England.
“I played against Jadon Sancho when we played England in the U17 Euro quarter-final. They would have had Sancho, Phil Foden (Manchester City), Callum Hudson-Odri (Chelsea) and Rhian Brewster (Sheffield United), players like that. Sancho was unbelievable.
"I remember Aaron Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion and Ireland international), got nutmegged by him, Sancho was just going around nutmegging everyone. He stuck one in from 40 yards into the top corner.
“I didn’t see much of him when he was playing with Borussia Dortmund, but from what I can remember of him, I would expect him to be a hit with United.”
Bolger will back in action for City tomorrow night when they take on St Patrick’s Athletic in the second round of the FAI Cup.