Erika plays a crucial role for Cork City

She is one of those who fulfils more than just one role, but the club's Covid compliance officer, and community and academy coordinator is happy to help in anyway she can.
Erika plays a crucial role for Cork City

Dave Bell, FAI development officer for Cork and Erika Ni Thuama, FAI football enterprise co-ordinator with Cork City FC, enjoying the launch of the Cork City FC amputee team at the Cork International Hotel in Cork Airport.

EMPLOYEES of Cork City football club are known for going beyond their duties. 

Although employees have a particular job title, that does not restrain them to just that role. 

Erika Ni Thuama is one of those who fulfils more than just one role, but the club's Covid compliance officer, and community and academy coordinator is happy to help in anyway she can.

“I love what I do. It’s my passion because I eat and bread Cork City. The Covid side of my role is a little bit quieter at the moment because there isn’t any training or matches going on but during the season, it would have been temperature checking in the morning," Erika said.

"Making sure that everyone was adhering to all of the rules and following guidelines, and that people knew what the current guidelines were. 

"So in terms of masks wearing, social distancing, if they had to train in pods and how they used the gym. So I was dealing with every team, the men’s, girls and academy teams.

“I had to do a course online to become the Covid officer but it's something I did myself and it only took 30 minutes. 

"It just went through the HSE and the Support Ireland guidelines, there wasn’t any formal course, the FAI just requested that all the compliance officers had to complete the course.

“From the community point of view; things have been a little bit quiet because of Covid. 

"But hopefully next season, we will be hoping to do school visits, where the players would put on different sorts of training sessions. 

"They recently went to Scoil Eanna and they did an outdoor training session. So it’s just planning all of that for next year and different community activities.

“Getting back into schools would be huge because I think over Covid and not being allowed to go into games, some children might have lost a bit of interest. 

"Even for children that have gone to games, it’s still not the same as having a player visit your school, it makes it more personal. 

FAI President Donal Conway and Leanne Sheill, Marketing Manager – Sponsorship and Reward with SSE Airtricity presents the SSE Airtricity League Club of the Season Award to Paul Wycherley, centre, Erika Ni Thuama and David Geary from Cork City from during the SSE Airtricity League Club Awards at Clayton Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
FAI President Donal Conway and Leanne Sheill, Marketing Manager – Sponsorship and Reward with SSE Airtricity presents the SSE Airtricity League Club of the Season Award to Paul Wycherley, centre, Erika Ni Thuama and David Geary from Cork City from during the SSE Airtricity League Club Awards at Clayton Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

"The kids always seem to love it when we visit a school. Not all the kids might know all of the players but they are just excited to have someone who is a professional footballer visit their school.

“We all do the Big Rebel Sleep out with Focus Ireland, so I’ll be liaising with Focus Ireland in the New Year to see if they want to do that again next year. Last year, we did a blanket collection for Simon. 

"So there are a lot of different community activities the club gets involved in.

“On the academy side of things; basically it’s all of the admin for the academy. So player registration and player transfers. 

"Doing the logistical side of it; making sure there is food for the players. Then at the home games; I do the matchday operations for the academy and I do a bit for the first-team as well.

“What gives me great satisfaction is seeing players come through the academy and make the first-team. 

"I have been volunteering for the academy for 10 years and it’s great that more or less the first-team squad has come through the academy.

“It's great to see the lads in the academy as well, the likes of Cathal O’Sullivan, Matthew Moore, Cathal Heffernan and Mark O’Mahony receiving international recognition. 

"I’m fortunate enough that it’s me who receives the international notification so I then have the pleasure of contacting their parents. 

"I was there when we got the notification for Mattew Moore and was there with his Dad when he found out and it was brilliant to see his reaction.” Previous to her role with the club, Erika worked with the FAI in the ‘more than a club’ programme. 

When that role ended she volunteered her services to City and from there, the club realised the need for Erika on a full-time basis.

Cork City ladies in Genk for the big game. (L-R) Erika Ni Thuama, Tara O'Donovan, grainne Caulfield, Tara O'Donovan and Eileen Bennett
Cork City ladies in Genk for the big game. (L-R) Erika Ni Thuama, Tara O'Donovan, grainne Caulfield, Tara O'Donovan and Eileen Bennett

“I had worked with the FAI on the ‘more than a club’ programme. It was a community role. 

"We went around to schools delivering footballs, numeracy programmes, we were doing programmes with the elderly as well, all things we want to start up again with the club but with Covid we are limited to what we can do.

“The FAI have relaunched the programme and are looking for sponsorship. They recently sent us a pack for our football memories programme which we would have done a few years back. 

"It’s got cards of players down through the generations, and the initial aim was people with early signs of dementia to try and encourage people to talk about players from the past, but we had an open event a few years back and it ended up with City fans, past players from the Cork Hibs and Cork Celtic teams and talking about their memories it was a great night and something we are excited to do again.

“How I ended up in the role I’m in, is that I was out of work, like a lot of people last year during Covid, and I was asked to come in and help out with the covid compliance stuff when the season re-started last July. 

"I was doing it for a couple of weeks and then the club realised how much time I was at the club and realised there was a full-time role in it."

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more