CORK City left-back Ronan Hurley believes that other West Cork players can follow in his path to represent the Rebel Army.
Last Friday night week, Schull native Hurley played as City beat Midleton 3-1 in the final of the Munster Senior Cup at Turner’s Cross, his second start of the season, having also played in the Premier Division clash against Waterford.
In the recent past, Connor Ellis from Kealkill, now with Limerick, has carried the West Cork flag on the City squad and Hurley is doing likewise, hoping that others can do the same.
‘Connor Ellis has shown it too,’ he says, ‘there’s definitely talent down in West Cork.
‘People have to believe and train as hard as they can, there’s definitely talent there, it’s about knowing you can push on and make the step up to playing at representative level and then hopefully with City after that.’
Friday week's display was a chance for Hurley and others to impress manager John Caulfield.
‘I was delighted to get 90 minutes under my belt and we won as well, so it was great,’ he says. ‘It was a good opportunity for us lads to try to impress and get 90 minutes in and show John that we’re able for it.
‘You’re playing against senior league teams, who are always going to up their standards and make a game out of it. We have to make sure that we’re at our best at the same time and push ourselves on.’
Hurley had his initial taste of first-team football last season while still playing at U19 level. Having made his debut in the EA Sports Cup against Waterford, he featured in the league towards the end of the season, playing in a defence which kept a clean sheet in a score-less draw away to Shamrock Rovers. He admits that the step up takes some adjusting.
‘Coming in from U19s to senior, it’s a lot more physical and a lot quicker,’ he says.
‘At U19s, if you make a mistake, you might get away with it whereas at senior level, if you make a mistake you’re punished straightaway so you have to be on your toes the whole time.
‘You need to be fully focused where at U19 you might get away with one or two.’