Following on from the first part of CorkCityFC.ie’s Christmas interview with manager Tommy Dunne, the Dubliner takes some time to assess two of his new signings as well as the rest of the competition ahead of the new season.
Ahead of the beginning of each and every new football season, there is always great hope and expectation amongst supporters, management and players. Every club is equal on the eve of a new campaign, each squad has trained for months in preparation for the opening fixtures and everyone has their own individual target set and marked out.
The core of Dunne’s 2012 squad has already been retained for the new term with two early pre-Christmas additions in the form of Daryl Kavanagh and Danny Furlong signed up from Shamrock Rovers and Wexford Youths respectively. Both men will add competition up front and though Dunne admits he would like to add another striker if possible, he is confident both players will score goals.
“From what I’ve seen when he played against us – while at Waterford, Pat’s and Rovers – I’ve always said (Daryl) was a player I’d rather have in my team than playing for someone else,” Dunne insists. “He’s an experienced player. His work ethic is good. He has good technique and skill but his vision of the game is also really, really good.
“If we can get the best out of Daryl Kavanagh, then we’ll have a top player in the league.
“We’ll have to work with him to achieve that – it’s never a sure and given thing that it will happen with a player – but we’ve got to try our utmost to give him and every other player at the club the platform and tools to perform as best they can.”
Danny Furlong, in contrast, is a relatively new face in League of Ireland football having plied his trade at Wexford Youths to date. The 23-year-old was top scorer in the First Division last season and has great potential, according to his new boss.
“Danny’s coming from a First Division club that were never really competing or under pressure for different things, so it’s a little bit different with him.
“He has shown lots of potential, especially on the goalscoring side of things, and sometimes it’s not a bad thing that a lad can develop his game without the pressure of having to win trophies at the same time.”
Lots of transfer movement and new managers at Dundalk and Limerick hints at a very competitive league season to come . Dunne believes likewise, though he says improvement and progression are essential for his squad nonetheless.
“The League is going to be a lot more competitive than it was last year. Shamrock Rovers will be better, Derry will be better, Sligo – if they are in and around the same standard – will still be very strong and Pat’s and Drogheda will also be strong.
“Stephen Kenny will put a decent team together up in Dundalk and while they are still appointing a manager, Limerick still have enough clout to put a decent group of players together.
“If you look back at last season, we probably finished where we were suppose to in terms of playing budget. The only club that punched above its weight was Drogheda, who had an amazing season.
“We can learn from a club like that, though it is more difficult for us simply because of the logistics involved. However, we don’t want to go by that alone – there’s more to football than what’s paid out and we will be looking to improve and progress this year.”
The 40-year-old is starting into his fourth season in charge of the Rebel Army and says he welcomes the scrutiny and expectation that’s involved with being in charged of a club like Cork City.
“Three years down the road is still a relatively short period! From a performance side of things, we’ve probably hit our objectives over the last three years without being outrageously spectacular. We’ve been a steady eddie more than anything else. We had quite a few problems last year in terms of continuity within the group so we probably finished okay considering all of that.
“However, the aspirations for the club and everybody involved are always going to be higher. The history of the club is at a higher place. I’ve no problem with that and I welcome the challenges that presents.
“We all actually perform better when it’s like that being honest. It has to be – because mediocrity is never a good thing in a football club. For some clubs, that’s where they are at – but not here and that’s the way it should be.”
And if Dunne had one wish for the New Year?
“My wish is simple – that all the boys stay healthy in 2013. If I was guaranteed that they would all stay fit, I’d be a very happy man. Saying that – a trophy wouldn’t be bad either!”