Top English soccer clubs using Fota Island as a base training camps

West Ham United, Preston North End and Burnley have previously been based in Cork in preseason with Stoke and Milwall recent visitors
Top English soccer clubs using Fota Island as a base training camps

The sports pitches at Fota Island resort. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

WITH Covid restrictions lifted, Cork will be hoping to see more UK clubs come to the city for training camps.

In the past, teams like West Ham United, Preston North End and Burnley have used Cork as a destination for their preseason trips. However, Covid did put an end to teams from across the water visiting Cork. But clubs have already jumped at the opportunity to conduct their preseason camps in Cork since they have been given the freedom to.

One man that will hope to continue attracting clubs to the city is Cork City women’s manager Danny Murphy, who works as sports events co-ordinator for Fota Island Resort.

Murphy was in charge of overseeing the recent trips of Stoke City and Millwall to the resort and is hoping to bring more clubs over in the coming months.

“Millwall and Stoke have been here since I started working here,” Danny Murphy said. “I was in constant communication with their staff. It was my role to make sure their entire schedule was sorted for when they arrived here.

From their training times, to what they will be doing for their rest and recovery. I had to make sure that everything ran smoothly so that their staff didn’t have to worry about anything.

“Everything is done for them. They just turn up, train, eat their food and get their rest in. I probably would be more like their personal assistant. I make sure that nothing is left to chance.

LITTLE THINGS

“Even little things like that the grass being cut to the exact level the managers want on the training pitch for their sessions.

“Other things like the balls being pumped to the right level and that they are clean.

“Obviously these clubs have the finances to spend a huge amount of money to make sure that the players are given the best of everything so they can get the best out of them for the season.

“The staffing is huge for these clubs. The level of detail that goes into it is extraordinary. From what the players can eat. How much they are allowed to eat. That will change based on particular training sessions.

“Having all that structure in place makes a massive difference to the quality you get from a player. They make sure players are doing everything right so they can physically reach the levels that are expected of them on a given day.

“The choices players have now to when I played is completely different. They are having salmon and turkey for breakfast. There has to be at least two choices of meat for dinner as well as a fish dish.

“Nutrition has become a huge part of the game and it’s vital for players to eat the right food and the right amount to get the best from themselves.

MONITORED

“Players are monitored more as an individual rather than as a team to get the best out of them.

“The players are wearing the GPS vests that have the heart rate monitors on them as well. So they can tell if players are reaching their maximum in a certain session or if they have gone over what they should have done.

“The staff then will alter the training for the next day based on what levels the players reached in training that day, so that they are always at 100 percent.

“Obviously, there is a huge amount of detail that needs to go into that and these clubs have the numbers in staff needed to be capable of monitoring it.

“It could be a case that some players drop out of certain parts of training sessions because they have done too much the day before. On the opposite side of that; you could have lads doing extra because they hadn’t done enough the previous day.

“Obviously soccer teams begin their competitive season soon but there will be an opportunity again arise when the World Cup begins in November. Clubs are going to be doing training camps during it to keep those not at the World Cup fit, so I would hope to get teams over around then.

But the pitches aren’t just designed for soccer teams. We would hope to get other sports teams in.

“We have huge facilities here. We can design the pitches for whatever sport that potentially wants to use the facility.

“GAA teams or rugby teams I believe would benefit from using the facilities so we will be branching our services out to a number of sports.”

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