CORK City manager John Caulfield has backed Schull youngster Ronan Hurley to continue his good progress, as long he remains focused.
Hurley, who made his debut against Waterford in the EA Sports Cup in April, started at left-back in the last two league games, the 0-0 draw away to Shamrock Rovers and last Friday’s 3-0 win at home to Limerick.
His performances have earned praise from the boss, who is optimistic that he can keep his graph facing upwards.
‘We want to bring in some of the younger players and give them game-time,’ Caulfield says.
‘Particularly young Ronan Hurley, he’s probably the one that’s nearest at the moment. Obviously, physically he needs to fill out but he’s a beautiful passer of the ball and he has good positioning, he’s a guy I’d certainly like to give more game-time over the next couple of weeks.
‘He’s a West Cork lad coming through, one of our own and we like that as well. At the same time, we’ve had young players come through and maybe they haven’t delivered on the promise that they had at 18 or 19.
‘You just have to be careful, there are a number of players that have got injuries as well. We have high hopes for Ronan but he’s still young. He’s had a couple of games, did very well at Rovers last week.
‘In the first couple of games, players can be playing in a relaxed mode because there’s no pressure on. It’s when you get more established and you break into the team and you need to be consistent week in and week out and the pressure is on that you have to deliver.
‘The early indications are that he’s a fantastic guy and so are the other lads as well, so we’re keeping an eye on them all.’
That view is echoed by City midfielder Jimmy Keohane, man of the match against Limerick.
‘He has been very comfortable,’ he says.
‘He has done himself justice the last few weeks, going away to Shamrock Rovers, which is a very difficult place to go, and he performed superbly that night as well.
‘It’s good to have someone pushing Griff because we haven’t had a natural left-back as cover.
‘He’s technically very good and a good athlete too and there’s a lot to work with there.’