Paul Hunt on reviving his League of Ireland career with Wexford

Former Cobh Ramblers and Cork City keeper still has the hunger to compete at the top level
Paul Hunt on reviving his League of Ireland career with Wexford

Former Cork City and Cobh Ramblers keeper Paul Hunt has moved to Wexford for 2022. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

WHEN one door closes another opens and for Paul Hunt getting another opportunity to play League of Ireland football has made him motivated to push on this season.

Hunt left Cork City at the end of last season with the idea of signing for a Munster Senior League team however a call from Wexford boss Ian Ryan was enough to convince the father of one that he still had so much to offer the League of Ireland.

The 31-year-old Kildare man resides in Cobh with his wife Trish and daughter Annabelle is starting his 13th year playing at this level. Although he had a frustrating season last year with City, he is looking forward to being number one with Wexford.

I decided to leave Cork City in December after having a conversation with Colin Healy because I knew game-time would be limited, if any at all. 

"I was ready to walk away from league of Ireland and just go play in the MSL to play games weekly until Ian Ryan rang me at Wexford and gave me an opportunity that I couldn't turn down.

“Last year was tough and frustrating for me as I only got to play a couple of pre-season minutes but with no cup competitions running it kind of made it difficult to get any games played. 

"It was a frustrating year not being able to show what I could do but the way Mark McNulty played and then when Harry [Dave Harrington] came in and did so well, there wasn't much I could do other than train hard and keep trying to push them both. 

"It's just one of them positions that only one of us can play and when you've three top keepers there's always going to be two frustrated.” 

Enjoying preseason, Hunt is excited for the season ahead and although Wexford are a young and new side, he is confident they can do well.

“I’m loving it up there at the moment, it's a new enough squad put together but the lads are brilliant up there. I did know a couple of them before signing so that made it that bit easier joining a new team. 


"When the season starts I'll be training up there twice a week and then the game and then we'll be expected to do our own stuff at home which is normal for most of the part-time players at League of Ireland level. 

"It makes a difference when you know you will get game time. It makes the travelling that bit easier.

“My aim will be to be the number one there but all I can do is train the best I can and be consistent when it comes to the games. 

"We have a young lad Alex Moody who was a Shamrock Rovers U19 player last year. Alex can be a top keeper and even go as high as he wants as he's eager to learn and I hope I can help him in any way I can.

“This will be my 13th season. I had one year at St Pat’s before moving on to Longford where I spent five years winning the First Division along the way and playing then a year in the Premier Division finishing mid-table. 

"I then moved on to Cobh where I was into my sixth season before stepping away." 

 Paul Hunt is beaten by a penalty from Darren Meenan, Athlone Town, in Cobh colours. Picture: Larry Cummins
Paul Hunt is beaten by a penalty from Darren Meenan, Athlone Town, in Cobh colours. Picture: Larry Cummins

He won the Munster Senior Cup, and enjoyed the play-off nights, making over 100 appearances for Ramblers over that time. 

I have enjoyed every club I’ve played for and I have no doubt I’ll experience some great times here in Wexford also.

"My aim is just to play as many games as possible. Help the team in whatever way I can and our aim as a team will be at least make a playoff spot and then we'll go from there.

“The First Division is a very good standard and you can see it improving each year. The likes of Waterford and Cork staying full time has probably helped push it on as the teams that are so-called part-time know they need to put in as much work so as to not fall behind.” 

Hunt's wife Trish is also playing at National League level and she recently signed for Limerick side Treaty and she is also a goalkeeper. 

It's a hectic schedule but one in which Hunt believes they work hard to make it work.

“With Trisha playing in Limerick it can be difficult at times with lack of seeing each other. 

"We're lucky that our training nights are opposite and we can manage Annabelle and it does make us appreciate the time we do spend together and with Annabelle and we try to make the most of that time. 

"But careers are short so we'll both support each other until the time comes to hang up the gloves.”

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