Celtic midfielder Barry Coffey has shown his class with Cork City

Tipperary native on life at Turner's Cross, his underage career and the high standard at Celtic Park under Brendan Rodgers
Celtic midfielder Barry Coffey has shown his class with Cork City

Barry Coffey of Cork City celebrates after scoring against Athlone Town at Turner's Cross. Picture: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

BARRY COFFEY is enjoying life since joining Cork City on loan.

The Celtic player has made a positive impact with the Rebel Army and is hoping to continue his good form until the end of the season when his loan expires.

“I’m living in a house in Glanmire, with Aaron Bolger and Sean Kennedy. It’s a lovely area and a lovely set-up,” Coffey says. “We are getting well looked after by the club. Cork, it’s not too far from home (Tipperary), so I’ve been down to Cork plenty of times before I signed for City.

“It’s been really good. It’s a lovely city. The people down here are great. I’ve loved every minute of it, so far.

“It’s been going well on the pitch for me. I see myself as a midfielder who tries to get into the box as much as I can, to try and get on the scoresheet and, thankfully, I have managed to do that a few times.

Barry Coffey after netting ainst St Patrick's. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Barry Coffey after netting ainst St Patrick's. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

“It’s been great playing consistently and that has really helped and all the lads here have been brilliant with me and it’s a good group of players,” Coffey says.

Coffey signed for Celtic in 2017, after impressing scouts while on international duty. It’s taken time for the 20-year-old to realise just how big a move and challenge that was, but his sole focus was on football.

“The ball started rolling on my career when I was playing in the Kennedy Cup. From that, I was fortunate enough to be brought into the Ireland set-up at U15 level.

“I had a good few caps there. I suppose, when you are playing at the international stage, you are always in the shop window. Celtic got in touch with me after watching me for Ireland and that was the start of it.

“When I look back at the move now, I probably didn’t realise how big a change it was.

“At the time, I was just a young fella playing football and I just wasn’t aware of how big the move was,” Coffey says.

“I just kept my head down, worked hard, and took it day by day. I tried to keep things as normal as possible and not get sucked up by where I was and what I was doing.

“I just wanted to stick to football and that was my mindset. I just wanted to be the best on the pitch and I was trying to do that; that’s all I could do.”

BOOT ROOM

It’s not too common in modern football that youth players are forced to clean some of the first-team player’s boots, but Coffey did.

“My first year with Celtic, I was 16 and I used to go train with the U23s and reserves at Lennoxtown. For the young boys, once the first team were finished training, we would be called and told to go collect the equipment and clean the boots.

“That’s how it was. We were never designated to one player. We would grab three or four pairs. I was always trying to get Scott Brown’s or Scott Sinclair’s boots.

“Those two players were flying at that stage and I was still young enough that I was looking at them as idols rather than as teammates. I always tried to get the midfielders’ boots and see what kind of brand they were wearing.

“I never minded cleaning them. I actually found it quite cool, to be honest. That’s not to say I was never given out to about how well I cleaned the boots,” Coffey says.

Coffey has spent time training with Celtic’s first-team and particularly highlighted former manager, Brendan Rodgers’ time in charge.

Brendan Rodgers was excellent. He would always have time for everyone, no matter if you spent one day or you were always training with the first-team squad.

“He actually phoned me after my first session, which speaks volumes about him, and it’s no wonder he has been such a success.

“The standard of training is very high. The likes of Scott Brown, Callum McGregor, and Kieran Tierney are world-class.

“It was a dream to learn off them and see how they conduct themselves every day, even if I spent most of the sessions just running around after them trying to get the ball.

“In the height of success, the levels of the training sessions were frightening.”

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