Mark McNulty keeps faith in Cork City's next generation

Veteran stopper remains a member of Colin Healy's squad but is also heavily involved in coaching, at the Cross and Wilton United
Mark McNulty keeps faith in Cork City's next generation

Cork City's Mark McNulty in action against Cabinteely last season. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

CORK CITY goalkeeper and coach Mark McNulty believes that it will be a challenging season for the club in their upcoming First Division campaign.

City are one of the favourites for promotion, but McNulty believes there are several teams that will believe they have a squad capable of gaining promotion.

“It’s going to be tough this year. Waterford remaining full-time will make a difference; they have retained a lot of their squad from last year, a squad that did very well in the second half of the season in the premier division,” McNulty said.

“I think the appointment of Ian Morris was a shrewd choice because he knows how to get a team promoted.

“Then you have Galway who, although they have not made many new signings, I would expect to be strong. With John Caulfield in charge, they are always going to be up there competing.

“I would imagine Bray and Longford will feel they are in with a chance, and I think Wexford could be a bit of a dark-horse. They really improved when Ian Ryan took over last season and they have made some impressive signings.”

City have made several signings before the beginning of this campaign and McNulty has been impressed with how the new additions have been in training.

“The new lads have fitted in well with the group and look good in training. I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from Ruairi Keating. He’s a very clever player and his movement is excellent.

“I don’t think the defenders enjoy marking him; he is so difficult to mark because of his movement. He’s the type of player that, when the ball is played into him, it sticks.

“I think he and Cian Murphy will complement each other with their strengths.

The new lads have definitely upped the standard and there is certainly more competition for places and that’s what you need at the club.”

With the signing of Jimmy Corcoran and the emergence of David Harrington, McNulty might find games scarce this year.

FAITH

However, the two-time league winner is a firm believer in competition for places and he was delighted with Harrington’s performance in City’s last four games last season.

“All I can do is the same thing I have throughout my career and that is to train every day as best as I can and see what happens.

“Jimmy has been doing very well in training and I’ve enjoyed working with him.

“Harry was excellent in his four games last season. I was delighted for him because I’ve known him since he was a kid because of my relationship with his dad [Phil 'Biscuits' Harrington]. Biscuits used to bring me to his house for dinner.

“He really looked after me even when I wasn’t playing; he would have me in at seven in the morning doing running and gym sessions before we would start training and he was a huge influence on my career. I would love to repay him by helping Harry fulfill his potential because he has got everything it takes to be a top keeper.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Harry’s performances continued to see him involved with the Irish U21 team.”

Apart from his career with City, McNulty is also keen to share his goalkeeping wisdom with local clubs in Cork having worked with Wilton United last year.

“I would like to do more coaching outside of City. Last season, I was asked by Wilton about taking a few goalkeeping sessions with the younger keepers and I enjoyed it.

Picture: Larry Cummins.
Picture: Larry Cummins.

“I started off coaching three or four, but the numbers grew over the weeks and I ended up having 12 keepers attending the sessions and I really enjoyed it.

“It’s definitely something that I want to continue to do this year because it’s great seeing younger children wanting to be goalkeepers.

“My advice to younger keepers is to always stick at it. There may be times when you have to be second choice, but be patient and you will get your chance. Look at me.

“I spend years being the second choice at City but have ended up playing a lot of games and have won everything there is to win in this country.

“I know that it’s tough, but keepers have to be patient and not throw their toys out the pram even if they have been second choice for a number of years.”

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