John Cotter using his Cork City and Avondale experience to aid young players in Cork

FAI role sees the Ballincollig native overseeing player development across the city and county
John Cotter using his Cork City and Avondale experience to aid young players in Cork

John Cotter during his time as Cork City manager. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

AS a player, his main focus was on playing and not dwelling too much on future roles, and rightly so.

However the tactical side of the game always intrigued him, and this lead to him ending up in what I believe to be the perfect job for any football fanatic.

Former Cork City and Avondale star, John Cotter has been relocated to Cork with the FAI, a role he began in Limerick back in 2021 but now he is delighted to be nearer home and I have no doubt we in Cork, will benefit from having him involved with the underage set up.

The father of three from Ballincollig has been very hands-on so far since his recent appointment, having attended many underage setups including the Cork schoolboys and schoolgirls training sessions and here he tells us about his role and what he hopes to achieve.

“I am the FAI Regional High-Performance Coach in Cork, a role I started in Limerick in May 2021 but have just been transferred to Cork last week which is great,” said Cotter. “I will oversee all aspects of player development involving both boys and girls football. This includes coordinating both Boys and Girls’ Emerging Talent Programs. I will be actively observing grassroots games as player ID for both in Cork and West Cork.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

“I will also be responsible for Coach Education and the courses I will be delivering will be National D Licence, UEFA Leaders Award and UEFA C Licence. I will be responsible for club and league development, engage and provide coaches clinics for the Cork Schoolboys League, Cork Women’s and Schoolgirls League and the West Cork League. I will also be a resource for the National League academies in Cobh Ramblers and Cork City. I will also be working closely with Nick Harrison, the regional manager, and all the development officers, Alan Bennett, Ray Claffey and Derek Coughlan.

Cotter’s first managerial post was at Avondale, a position he felt he learned so much from, and an experience that made him want to develop more as a coach.

“At Avondale as head coach was a brilliant experience on how to manage people. 

It was my first coaching position so a massive learning curve for me. It gave me the platform to make mistakes, which I still do, and to learn from them and gain knowledge and experience in how to deal with that.”

From here I progressed to Cork City as I took on the role as assistant first team manager. My role in Cork City was a progression from Avondale and also an introduction to coaching at the highest level this country offers. I got to work with people like John Caulfield, Billy Woods, Phil Harrington, Liam Kearney, Alan Reynolds, Colin Healy and Mick Punch. All experienced players, coaches and managers that I used all their experiences to help improve and upskill myself.”

Cotter went on to become interim head coach at Cork City and from there had a brief spell as coach with Waterford before he returned to Cork City under Colin Healy. However he then landed his current role with the FAI, and he is thoroughly enjoying it.

“While I was playing, coaching was never something that entered my mind as I was only concentrated on playing however the tactical side of the game always intrigued me and trying to evolve with all the modern trends of the game. 

John Cotter comes in to tackle Dundalk's David Hoey in a 1997 league game. Picture: Billy Stickland/INPHO
John Cotter comes in to tackle Dundalk's David Hoey in a 1997 league game. Picture: Billy Stickland/INPHO

"When I was given the opportunity to manage and coach I never hesitated and took the opportunity and it has been the best decision I have made.

“I loved my time working in Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary. I had a positive relationship with all key stakeholders in the region and I have no doubt that I will continue to stay in touch with them regularly. I worked with some brilliant people in all aspects of the job and I can honestly say I have made some friends along the way.

“Commencing in Cork and trying to improve all aspects of Cork football is something I am passionate about and a challenge I am looking forward to. I also have a young family and this will give me the opportunity to also support them more often as they begin their sporting journeys. I have been very lucky to have incredible support from my family as I have been on this amazing journey and look forward to the next chapter in Cork.”

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