CORK CITY star player Ally Gilchrist is loving life both on and off the pitch this season.
After joining the club from Shelbourne in December, the Scottish player has been one of the standout performers for City, and the defender is enjoying his time on Leeside.
“It’s been really good. I’ve really enjoyed living here. It obviously makes it much easier that I am living in Cork now and not having to travel all the time to see my girlfriend,” Gilchrist said.
“It was a lot of travelling going from Derry to Cork, then Dublin to Cork when I was with Shels but it’s been great this year moving down here and being closer to her.
“It’s a great city to live in. I feel the people here are so nice to you, similar to how people were in Derry. I’ve just really enjoyed everything about living here and I suppose that has helped me on the pitch because things are going well at the moment.
“It’s a great dressing room as well which makes going into training enjoyable every day. I don’t want to keep harping on about it but there are a lot of similarities to what it was like at Shels last year, in terms of good players in the team, and players that have the determination to win games.
“I know in some games recently we haven’t been at our best but that happened a lot with Shels but what was important was that we were finding ways to win games which is what we are doing here as well.”
Similar to his time at Shelbourne, City have played with a back three. However with the Dublin side Gilchrist operated on the left of the three when Shels did deploy that formation.
The Scott defender admits that he was not at his most comfortable playing on the left and it much happier operating in the middle.
“It’s not the first time that I have played in a back three. We played it on a few occasions with Shels at the beginning of last year but it didn’t last too long because it just didn’t suit us as a team.
“I don’t think it suited me on the left of it because playing that position you have to go in a bit more with players and I much prefer being last man. It’s just something I always preferred. It’s completely different playing in the middle and I feel very comfortable playing in a back-three now where I probably won’t have said that last year.”
Gilchrist spent much of pre-season injured and only featured in City’s final pre-season game against Shelbourne.
Most players would find it difficult to be fully ready for the season with such little game time in pre-season but Gilchrist has been ever-present in the City starting 11 and again reflects on his time with Shels when it came to being ready for competitive games.
“Obviously, I would have liked to have played more minutes in pre-season but it wasn’t something that I was overly concerned about because I had a similar experience last season.
“I didn’t play many games pre-season but I was ready when the season came around and that worked in my favour again this year. Colin spoke to me before the season began about whether or not I thought I would be okay and I assured him I would and I haven’t looked back.
“It’s been going great on the pitch. We are going well in the league. I always felt the players that were here already before the likes of myself, Kev [Kevin O’Connor] and Ruairi (Keating) came into the club were really good players.
“They were probably missing that little bit of experience because it is a young squad, I mean myself, Kev and Ruairi are the more experienced players and even at that Kev being the eldest is only 27.
The fans have had a real impact on the team. They have been brilliant this year and that is something that hasn’t surprised me.
"I knew from playing against City in the past just how big a club it is and how good a place it is to play at Turner’s Cross and my opinion of both has only increased since joining, by being involved with the club every day and getting to play at Turner’s Cross more often.
“I’m am just really enjoying everything about my time with the club and I’m looking forward to continuing my career here.”