ANOTHER two West Cork Schoolboys League graduates have signed for Cork City ahead of the new SSE Airtricity U15 League of Ireland season.
Ardfield FC’s John O’Donovan plus former Dunmanway Town star Aaron Mannix put pen to paper and committed their immediate futures to Cork City U15’s last week.
Following in the footsteps of Keith McCarthy (Dunmanway Town) and Sam Bailey (Lyre Rovers) who agreed to sign for City’s U13s, O’Donovan and Mannix will be part of the League of Ireland’s club’s U15 set-up following a series of trials.
Former Republic of Ireland international and Head of Cork City’s Acadmey, Colin Healy, will oversee the Cork’s club underage structure for 2019 with former City stalwarts Billy Woods, Dan Murray, Cormac Cotter and Anthony Fennelly having looked after the club’s U15 side last season.
City ended their 2018 SSE Airtricity League Group 2 campaign in third place behind St Patrick’s Athletic and Bray Wanderers but ahead of Galway United. Cork reserved their best performances for the FAI U15 National Cup however, defeating Bishopstown 3-1 in the opening round and overcoming Bray Wanderers 2-1 after extra-time in the quarter-finals.
That result setup a semi-final meeting away to Limerick FC at Hogan Park. A tight encounter ended 2-2 after extra-time before Cork City emerged 5-3 winners on penalties. Alas, a strong St Patrick’s Athletic side proved too strong in the cup final, winning 4-0 in Richmond Park.
Hopes are high that City can improve on their previous showing and Colin Healy has overseen the recruitment of a strong squad during the pre-season period.
Aaron Mannix has already enjoyed a terrific couple of years, culminating in representing the Republic of Ireland against Poland in a recent U15 international. The former Dunmanway Town underage player possesses all the attributes to become a top class goalkeeper and will be expected to challenge for the number one jersey during the upcoming campaign.
John O’Donovan proved himself a reliable goalscorer at both West Cork Schoolboys League and Inter-League level through the underage ranks in recent years. A player who can drop deep and link with midfield as well as being able to finish inside or outside the penalty box, O’Donovan has every chance of making a name for himself in City’s colours.
Both John O’Donovan and Aaron Mannix’s skill sets were cultivated whilst playing in West Cork. There is no reason others cannot follow in their footsteps and progress to League of Ireland level in the coming seasons.