CORK CITY full-back Ronan Hurley feels that the return of supporters to stadiums has helped him feel more confident in games.
City have had to play the majority of their games this season in empty stadiums but the recent easing of restrictions has seen supporters return to Turner’s Cross and Hurley believes this has aided his performances.
“I do feel more confident in recent games. It’s not that I’ve been doing anything different compare to the beginning of the season. I just think having fans back in the ground and having that support has really helped me,” Hurley said
“I’m always a little bit nervous before the games. I think that is a good thing. I did feel a lot more nervous at the start of the season than I do now though.”
Hurley is a graduate from City’s academy system having joined the club at U17 level. The defender played the majority of his underage career with Bunratty United before the Schull native was advised to move to a club closer to the city.
However, his options were limited when it came to his choice of club.
“I grew up playing with my local club Bunratty until U16s, but I was told that I should look for a club closer to the City to progress my career. There was a rule at the time that you weren’t allowed to join a club that was over 80 kilometres away from your house.
I ended up signing for Lakewood because they were within my limit. The 80k rule meant that I couldn’t sign for College Corinthians or Mayfield because they would have been maybe 86k away.
“I think the rule was there to try and stop the best players all from signing for the one club.”
Having spent the past two seasons staying in student accommodation, Hurley is finding his living arrangements this season much more suitable. The 22-year-old is currently house-sharing with fellow City teammates Dylan McGlade, Cian Murphy, Cian Bargary and Jonas Hakkinen and enjoys spending extra time with his teammates.
“It’s been great living with the lads. We all get along really well. It’s definitely much better living with the lads than living in student accommodation which I had been doing for the past two years.
“It wasn’t ideal living with people that would be heading out a lot while I was staying in because obviously, I needed to look after myself.
“It’s much easier now because we are all players, so we all have to remain professional.
“There were stages within those two years that I wasn’t staying in student accommodation and had to travel up and down from Schull, which isn’t ideal because it’s over an hour-and-a-half drive.”
Hurley is currently studying Commerce in UCC and it can be difficult to manage the balance between being a full-time professional footballer and trying to get a degree.
However, Hurley feels that UCC changing their teaching methods has helped him combine the both.
“Last year with Covid, I couldn’t attend classes. I was worried about how I would manage this year with college being back open but with UCC, the lectures are now being recorded meaning that I don’t physically have to be in class.
“I can listen to them live or if I can’t, I listen at night. The benefit is that I don’t have to be chasing classmates to try and get notes.
“This way I can listen to the lectures, even live lectures, and pause them when I want to take notes.”
Looking at the First Division, Hurley does feel that Shelbourne are the best team he has faced and that Bray Wanderers’ Brandon Kavanagh was the standout player he has come against.
“I think looking at the season, Shels do deserve to be where they are.
“They have been the most consistent, although I thought we gave them a good game in the first meeting this year until we had a man sent off and unfortunately, we had a makeshift backline against them last time.
“Brandon Kavanagh was the best player I have faced this year. I think he is very clever and drifts into positions that make him difficult to pick up.”