Following a disappointing 18 months in the UK Kevin O’Connor has jumped at the chance to return to Turners Cross on a short-term loan deal, until the summer at the earliest, from Preston North End.
While O’Connor has predominantly played as a left-back under John Caulfield in the past, it appears that the Cork City gaffer sees him playing in the middle of the park this season. Caulfield said, “It is a great coup for us, Kevin coming back in. We all know he is a fantastic footballer. We have been a bit short on numbers in the middle of the park since Jimmy (Keohane) has gone. People may not remember, but Kevin joined us as a midfielder and played there in the cup final in 2015, and we converted him into a left back. We see him as a centre of the park player now, that is where he has been training and he has looked very sharp since he has come back in.”
It’s hoped that O’Connor’s international clearance comes through in time for him to be involved in tomorrow’s President’s Cup game against Dundalk.
Caulfield is delighted to have him back and was full of praise for him, “It’s like he has never been away. He has trained very hard every day, he is a beautiful footballer and very good on the ball. He will be a huge addition to us and we are delighted to have him. He got a number of goals in his last spell with us; we all remember the winner against Hacken in the Europa League. He is a great guy to have around the place and will be a huge addition to our squad.”
O’Connor, who’s still only 23, has only played 18 league games during his time in England with Preston, Fleetwood and Crewe (both during loan spells) and he can’t wait to get back involved with Cork. He said, “I’m happy. Everybody knows how I feel about this club, so it is great to be back. I’ve been in training with the lads, so I am looking forward to getting my head down, working hard and going again.”
“There are still a good few of the lads here from when I was here before, and the new lads seem bang on. It seems like a really good bunch and hopefully things will go well on the pitch. I want to get games, that is my main target, but we want to be challenging up around the top of the table as well. I am just hoping to come back, work hard and play as many games as possible.”
Picture Credit: Cork City FC