AFTER leaving Cork City last month to take up a scholarship in a business administration masters at the University of New Hampshire in the USA, Ronan Hurley, from Schull, has talked about his adjusting to life in his new environment.
“I’ve been in that state for a few weeks. The first week I was here; we didn’t have training, we didn’t have college,” Hurley said.
“So I was just in the house with one other of my housemates, and I was kind of homesick. Having lived in Cork my whole life it was tough to move away from family and friends. However, I would say that everything is perfect now because my scheduling has developed.
“We are back in training. College has started. The university is located in Durham. Durham is a college town. All of the buildings there are mostly college buildings in terms of having all different subject departments given builds like the science or business department.
“You also would have all of the sports facilities here as well. It is basically like a massive campus.
“All of the accommodation is located in the same spot as well. I really like the set-up here because when I attended UCC, everything was spread around Cork.
“I’m only living around eight minutes outside of Durham with four other lads on the team. The lads are all from different locations.
“One is English. One is Canadian, and the other is South Korean. We are all new fellas to the team, so that was kind of helpful.
As we all kind of are in the same situation of not knowing what to really expect. It has been great getting a new experience in life.
“From a football perspective, it has been frustrating. The first day I came over it was 35C. We did a bleep test to ensure everyone was at good fitness levels, which I passed. We had training that evening which was fine.
“The next session we had an in-house 11 versus 11. I got a knee into the quad, which I thought was just a dead leg, but my leg swelled up, so I had to come off.
“Two weeks went by, and my leg was still swollen and bruised. I couldn’t put that much pressure on it and I had no mobility in my quad.
“I got an X-ray and found out I had myositis ossificans, which is when a bone forms inside your muscle or other soft tissue. So that hasn’t helped. The recovery and rehab for it isn’t specific, it is more of a case of letting my body recover from it which could take months.
“In those sessions, I did get to be involved in, I was shocked by the standard here. Everyone is so fit and strong. I think the main difference between here and back home is that everyone is such a good athlete.
"Our team is multicultural. We have players from different parts of the world. It is something I like about the team because you learn about other cultures in the world.
“Watching from the outside; there is a lot of competition for places in the team. If I were fit, I would have had to be at the top of my game to be starting.
“From the games that I watched, all the wingers are extremely quick and technical. Trying to deal with those types of players will be a new challenge when I do return because they are different to what I would have faced in Ireland.
“All the wingers are quick and technical here, where in Ireland I think they are a bit of a mix.
“I got the feeling there is more togetherness here in terms of players supporting one another.
“Sometimes in Ireland lads can sulk when they are on the bench and don’t really encourage those on the pitch. Whereas here, everyone genuinely supports one another.
“I suppose the argument could be made that you are on a pro-contract in Ireland whereas you aren’t here. It’s nearly as if the lads on the bench are coaches, the way they stand on the bench and encourage lads through a game.
“Long-term, I’m not really sure. At the moment I see myself as a bit of a home bird, so I would see myself returning after two or three years.
“Then again, you never know what can happen. But it is definitely something that I wanted to experience and something I would recommend to anyone.”