NO matter where he is playing on the pitch, Cork City’s Darragh Crowley is happy to help the team in any way.
Crowley, who began his career as a striker with the club, has found himself operating in several positions this season, including centre-back. Having spent last season on loan at Cobh Ramblers, the 21-year-old is delighted to have featured so regularly for City this campaign.
“Last year I was with Cobh because I didn’t really get a look in at City. When Colin [Healy] was appointed manager, he contacted me and said he wanted me back,” Crowley said.
I was delighted then. All I wanted was to be back at City.
"I always knew that Colin knew what I could do. My expectations were to just try and get in the team. I had to be patient.
“I think the first three games, I didn’t play a minute. I started the fourth, and I’ve played a lot of minutes since. It’s gone better than I thought it would.
“I don’t know where my best position is. I began my career at City as a striker, but I would say my position now is a winger. Although, sometimes I feel I can have more input in the game when I am playing more centrally.
“Then again, I think I’m better on the wing, but I like the impact I can make from the centre. Of course, I played centre-back against Shelbourne, but that was to fill a gap and I don’t see myself playing there again.
“I think I was doing fine until I gave away the penalty, and that was that.”
Crowley began playing football at the age of five with Strand United, before moving to Innishvilla and finishing his amateur career with Kinsale.
It was at Kinsale that Crowley started to get noticed for his performances and it was City assistant manager Richie Holland that recommended Crowley to the club.
“My father was coaching Strand United, who are based in Inniscarra. He played with them himself and was coaching the U6 team at the time.
“I was only five when I started playing with them, so the rest of the players were a year older than me. We played indoor soccer every Friday night.
“I played with Strand up until U11 and then went to Innishvilla. I’m from Kinsale so that was closer for me.
I was with Innishvilla until U16 and then I played with Kinsale in the Munster Senior League. I played there for one year and we got promoted to Division 1.
“Richie Holland was involved with Bandon at the time. They were in our division. I think he recommended me to Colin. I was training with City’s U19s for four months before I signed because I started training in February, but I had missed the January deadline.
“So, I trained with City and played matches with Kinsale until the summer.”
Growing up, it wasn’t just soccer that Crowley focused his attention on. He was also involved in football, hurling, golf, and basketball, where Crowley managed to pick up a bronze All-Ireland medal.
I played every sport. I played football and hurling with Kinsale. I played golf religiously in the summers. I played basketball with the school.
"I have an All-Ireland basketball medal with Kinsale secondary school. It was a second-year competition. We didn’t win the competition, but I got a bronze All-Ireland medal.
“I remember my sister asking me what sport do I think I can make it at?
“She was surprised when I said soccer. She told me, that out of all the sports, everyone plays soccer and there is the least chance of that happening!
“I was just determined to go for soccer. So, when I signed for the 19s, I had to give all of the rest up,” he said.
He hasn’t given up on everything to focus on soccer. The City player is in his third year in University College Cork studying business information systems (BIS) and says it’s important to have something other than soccer on his CV.
“I’m currently studying BIS in UCC. It’s a four-year course, so hopefully, I will have my degree in two years. The club’s link with UCC did help me get on the course. I think it’s very important to get a degree to have something to fall back on when I am finished playing.”