BY DENIS HURLEY
INNISHANNON teenage star Darragh Crowley is one of three U19 players promoted to the Cork City first-team squad by manager John Caulfield.
The Rebel Army have endured a stuttering start to the current season, losing four of their opening eight Premier Division games, and, ahead of a busy period which sees them play seven games in 22 days, starting with Friday night’s visit of St Patrick’s Athletic.
Crowley, a Republic of Ireland U19 international, has shone for City at that grade so far this season and marked his senior debut with a goal in the 4-1 win over Cobh Ramblers in the EA Sports Cup, scoring with his first touch after coming on as a sub.
Along with Cian Murphy and Cian Bargary, he will now work full-time with the senior squad and Caulfield believes the timing is right.
‘We had a meeting with [U19 manager] Colin Healy and we brought in Cian Murphy, Cian Bargary and Darragh Crowley,’ he said.
‘We were going to wait until the summer because they’re doing their Leaving Cert, but they’re off the next couple of weeks with holidays and it works out quite well with all of the games coming up.
‘They’ve come into training, other than that everyone is okay.’
Recent good performances by the younger players against Midleton in the Munster Senior Cup final and Cobh Ramblers in the EA Sports Cup have prompted the decision.
‘We know that we have a couple of lads coming through who are quite talented,’ Caulfield said.
‘They played in the league cup and the Munster Senior Cup, Darragh Crowley scored against Cobh last week, Cian had been out injured, having been away with Ireland before that.
‘We think these guys have real talent, there’s just a balancing with the Leaving Cert, from our own point of view, we would have had them in from the start of January if we could have, but that wasn’t feasible.’