Stephen Walsh recently caught up with Cork City striker Rob Lehane on the challenges of balancing college and professional sport, as well as getting his thoughts on the season so far.
Editor’s Note: At the time of the interview Rob Lehane was out with an ankle injury but it is hoped that he’ll be back for the game this Friday week against Shamrock Rovers.
Cork City striker Rob Lehane will be hoping to add to his tally of sixteen appearances this season on Friday week when Cork City face Shamrock Rovers in a crucial clash. Coming in to the business end of the season, Lehane will also be looking to add to his tally of four goals.
Rob Lehane has shown that hard work and perseverance pays off. The striker was signed by Cork City from the University College Cork Premier Division side back in March after impressing in the Collingwood Cup. This involved crossing the 500 metres or so from the Farm to Bishopstown for training, something that former UCC player Josh O’ Shea also did back in July when he signed for Cork City.
Rob Lehane was part of the Collingwood Cup side that travelled to UCD as second favourites last February. However, the John Caulfield-managed sid failed to live up to expectations and lost in the semi finals to eventual winners NUIM 2-0.
Lehane described the step up between Collingwood Cup and League of Ireland as huge.
“The whole environment is different with better players, bigger crowds and more expectations. Plus everybody wants to progress to League of Ireland football.”
Balancing studies and sport is something that the second year commerce student has had to learn to contend with over the past year. He was full of praise for some of the services in UCC and the support he has received.
“I struggled with the maths part of the course but I had a chat with the grind service here in UCC and they set me up with grinds and I got on grand. They were a great help.”
The big difference with this year and last year with Cork City is that training is in the mornings, and not in the evenings like it was under former manager Tommy Dunne the previous season. This has made it a bit more difficult for Lehane, as it has clashed with his studies.
“Last season we trained in the evenings, which was fine with college during the day but now we train in the morning which makes it a bit harder to balance with college.”
An added bonus of attending UCC is that the facilities in the Mardyke Arena are available to students, and Cork City currently use the high quality arena for their recovery sessions. Rob was very complementary of the facilities and staff as he was using the anti-gravity treadmill for his ankle at the time in the hope of playing against Shamrock Rovers in Turners Cross on Friday week (K.O. 7.45pm).
“I’m currently out with the ankle but hopefully I’ll be back for the Rovers game if all goes well.”
Lehane spoke about his aims for the near future with Cork City and it’s clear he has his eye on potential silverware.
“I was doing okay up until the injury and I’m hoping to just try and get back into the team and challenge for trophies.”
Lastly, the Cork City frontman recommended people to go out to the Cross on Friday week to support the Rebel Army against Shamrock Rovers
“This season there has been quality football and the crowds have responded and enjoyed themselves.”
Stephen Walsh, Pundit Arena.