Few footballers made as many headlines as Conor Cox did in 2019.
The Listowel Emmets man, who first came to prominence starring in a UCC Sigerson Cup side containing the likes of Paul Geaney and Luke Connolly, represented his native Kerry in the Allianz Leagues back in 2015.
Cox was in and around the Kingdom panel for a few years but saw relatively little game time. This prompted newly-appointed Roscommon manager Anthony Cunningham to make his move. As his father hailed from Éire Óg, Cox qualified for the Rossies under the parentage rule.
He took the plunge and has never looked back. Just as his high-profile inter-county transfer had done so beforehand, Cox’s eye-catching performances in the Primrose and Blue made headlines nationwide as he kicked the Rossies to a Connacht title with wins over the provinces big two in Mayo and Galway.
Speaking at the 2020 Allianz League Launch, Cox reflected on the year just passed and is thankful that everything turned out the way it did.
“It’s mad to think it’s a year already. In that year I suppose I made some great memories and some great friends too up in Roscommon.
“It’s been very enjoyable and I’m looking forward to this year now and a few more years to come hopefully.”
When asked about the media attention he had received since his move west.
The full-forward admitted he ‘doesn’t enjoy doing media’ but knows it’s par for the course when it comes to being an inter-county footballer.
“I suppose with regard media and that, I personally don’t really enjoy doing it.
“I know that’s the way the game is now. You’re heavily involved in everything.
“Yeah, look, maybe performances whether they’re good or bad, there’s always an opinion. It’s just something game by game really and you’re trying to put in good performances, that’s about it.”
In hindsight, it’s easy to say that Cox’s decision to defect to Roscommon was a no-brainer. A chance to become a marquee forward, further his profile and play in the big games and big occasions that he craves so much.
However, the Listowel native admits there was a certain degree of apprehension around the move.
“Yeah, I was a bit apprehensive at the time wondering how it was going to pan out and that but in fairness to the lads as soon as I walked in they were very friendly, all introduced themselves and I suppose it was down to hark work then really, the time for talking was over, we were there to train.”
However, he would encounter more problems on the training field when it came to remembering names, something he admits he’s not great with at the best of time.
“I suppose that would have happened alright, I’m not the best with names at the best of times, nevermind when I don’t know a group of people (laughs).
“No, in fairness to the lads, it’s been seamless enough and I consider them very good friends of mine now.
The 2020 season kicks into gear this weekend and Roscommon fans will be hoping that their talisman can kick them back up into Division 1.
They’ve taken to their Kingdom import like he’s one of their own and while Cox himself stops short of saying he is a fans favourite, he does single out the Rossie nation for the love and adoration they show their players.
“I wouldn’t say I’m personally a fan’s favourite.
“I think the Roscommon fans are so loyal and such passionate people that any person who steps out on a field in a Roscommon jersey is going to be loved and adored because that’s just the way Roscommon people are.”