Graham Cummins: Cork City making the right moves off the pitch

Recent signings suggest Colin Healy's side will challenge strongly for promotion in 2022
Graham Cummins: Cork City making the right moves off the pitch

Dylan McGlade celebrates with Kevin O'Connor after scoring away to Sligo Rovers. Picture: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

I CAN’T help but be impressed by the business Cork City have done so far in the off-season.

City fans should be optimistic about the season ahead, considering where City are now, in preparation for the coming season, to where they were 12 months ago is night and day.

The club didn’t have a manager in place which stalled player recruitment, but this year. they have been proactive in recruiting players early rather than waiting until they return to pre-season, which is a benefit for both them and the club.

For the club, it helps them with their budget on players they are still to recruit.

City manager Colin Healy would have identified the positions that needed to be strengthened, and although he has managed to recruit several key signings, he knows there is still business to be done.

Healy would have had an idea of what wage he would have wanted to sign players on before recruiting them.

He might have overspent on players such as Kevin O’Connor, Ruairí Keating and Ally Gilchrist meaning he has less than he would have thought when trying to bring in more players. Or it could have been the opposite and Healy might have signed those players on the ‘cheap’ meaning he could now be shopping for a better quality of player than he thought he would because he can offer a better wage.

Also, free agents will be impressed by the signings City have made and will realise that City are having a go at promotion, which will make Healy’s job easier when trying to convince players to sign.

Had City made some uninspiring signings, it would be hard for Healy to persuade players that City were aiming for promotion when the players they have signed suggest otherwise. For the players; they have the piece of mind of knowing that they have a club for next season and it keeps them motivated over the off-season.

It’s tough for players who haven’t been signed by a club before Christmas.

They do start to wonder if they have a career in football and they can lack self-discipline over the festive period.

The new recruits at City would have been briefed of what is expected of them and the high standards that Healy demands and know that they cannot afford to enjoy their Christmas too much.

For the player, mentally it will benefit them because they won’t have stress and anxiety of where they might be playing their football next season. Those who need to relocate; will have plenty of notice to sort out their living arrangements, which would not have been the case had they signed in pre-season and would have been expected to uproot their life in a day.

The departure of Gearoid Morrissey along with Barry Coffey does signal that City need to strengthen the middle of the pitch.

Barry Coffey made a big impact last season. Picture: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile
Barry Coffey made a big impact last season. Picture: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

Although Morrissey was sidelined through injury for a number of games last year, his presence will still be missed.

He was the type of player that the younger players would have looked up to and been more confident going onto the pitch when he was in the team. City are a young squad.

I’m sure the younger players would have looked up to Morrissey. He will also be a miss around the dressing room.

He wasn’t a captain that would scream and shout at players, he was an approachable one, who would listen to players and try and help them rather than criticise a player.  He was certainly respected by players and that can be hard to replace. 

I can see O’Connor filling some of the roles left by Morrissey. O’Connor is very similar to Morrissey around the dressing room. He is a positive person.

He is always willing to help players out and he is a leader on and off the pitch and the resigning of O’Connor is a shrewd bit of business by the club.

City will be trying everything they can to sign Coffey. The Celtic player was a breath of fresh air when he joined the club on loan last July and brought goals to the team.

He was a goalscoring midfielder and they are a rare breed in football nowadays. Although I think City will be able to negotiate a deal with the Hoops for Coffey, the player himself might prefer to stay in the UK and fight for his career there.

There’s no doubt his addition would enhance City’s already strong chances of promotion.

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