Cork has always held a special appeal to me as people know the Bean an Tí, Cautie, is from Leeside. I spent a good bit of time in the county after myself and Cautie returned from Canada in the 1960s, especially in the off season when things used to get quiet here in Bundoran - winter and spring time.
But what might be lesser known is that I played a good bit of football in Cork, both Gaelic and soccer. I played for a couple of seasons with Cork Hibernians in the League of Ireland and I also played Gaelic with both Mitchelstown and Bishopstown in the Cork championship and also played with the Cork Gardai and the Cork City Banks. The only success I enjoyed was with the Cork Banks; we won the Cork Inter-firms, though may I hasten to add I never got the medal.
Due to the ban in the GAA that time on foreign sports, I played with Cork Hibs under the name John Rooney. For obvious reasons the entry of Finn Harps into the League of Ireland ended my days in the League of Ireland. Harps were going to be playing Cork Hibs and my cover was going to be blown and as my first loyalty was to GAA and playing with Bundoran and Donegal I did not want to pick up a ban.
Enough of my meander down memory lane. I must say I’m looking forward to the return of the National League this weekend and playing Cork.
I have always looked forward to playing Cork and not just because of my above mentioned connections with the county. I have always liked playing them because they are always a good footballing side and also because we have a good record against them, especially in the league.
It goes without saying next Sunday’s game against Cork is a big game for us and is a game we cannot afford to lose. We are on two points and they are on four so a win would see us join them on four and would be another step on the road to the knockout stages. And even more importantly a big step on the road to safety in the division which has to be the number one priority for Rory and the boys.
I also feel it is a game we can win. We are playing well for this time of the year. We played well against Derry and got the result. Even though we lost I thought we played well against Dublin.
Cork are not great travellers though I suspect the current Cork side might have a it more steel in them. They had a good win away to Monaghan in the last round.
Even so they won’t relish the prospect of facing us in Fr Tierney Park. In my last league in charge in 2005, we played them in Ballyshannon and we gave them a right good beating even though I remember them the night before in the Great Northern and they were quite bullish about their prospects the next day.
I don’t expect to see Rory making any great changes in the team for Sunday. I expect it to be very much along the lines of that which played against Dublin.
He has more or less stuck with the same 17 or 18 players in the last two games and I can’t see him deviate too much from that for Sunday. It is very clear from his two league selections that he is taking the league seriously.
The first priority has to be pick up enough of points to survive and that is a very fine line in what is a very competitive league. There is time enough to try out players once the position in the league is secured. A win on Sunday will put us in a good position and set us up nicely for Monaghan the following Sunday, in O’Donnell Park.
Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack