Sunday 20 October 2019

Kevin back with a bang

O'Connor scores stunning goal on return to Cork City

Kevin O’Connor of Cork City, right, celebrates with team-mate Dan Casey after scoring during the President’s Cup final against Dundalk at Turners Cross
Kevin O’Connor of Cork City, right, celebrates with team-mate Dan Casey after scoring during the President’s Cup final against Dundalk at Turners Cross

Brendan Furlong

Kevin O'Connor marked his second coming at Cork City with a sparkling goal from a free-kick.

O'Connor re-joined John Caulfield's Cork City on loan on Friday from Preston North End having had somewhat of a mixed package during his spell across the water.

O'Connor had joined up with Cork City from Waterford United, enjoying quite an impressive spell with the club which led to him winning both league and cup medals, while also experiencing European soccer.

Despite his late signing, Kevin O'Connor was allowed mark his return when coming on as a 62nd minute substitute in the President's Cup final against their arch rivals, Dundalk, in front of home fans at Turners Cross on Saturday evening.

The returning O'Connor sparkled on his introduction striking a superb free-kick to haul City back into the game, but it was Dundalk under new manager, Vinny Perth, who came out on top 2-1.

When O'Connor became available, Cork manager John Caulfield, showed an immediate interest, for having lost some key players during the close season, he snapped up the former player.

O'Connor during his initial spell with City played out of left back but he will have a new role on his return.

Caulfield said: 'When Kevin became available I immediately showed an interest. He was an excellent left back for us but I now see him more as a central midfield player for the new season.'

The plan is for O'Connor, 23, to return to Preston, where he has a contract until June 2020, in June for pre-season.

O'Connor who made the move to England in 2017, has made just 24 league and cup appearances in 18 months for Preston, while he also had spells on loan at Fleetwood and more recently Crewe Alexander.

But he believes the return to where he made his name could be the making of him again.

He said: 'I went over, I gave it a good shot, by no means am I done over there. It didn't go well for me over there the first time, but I still have 18 months left, and I will see my options after, but at the moment I will just concentrate on Cork City.

'There were a few options but John has always been good to me.

'Once, he said, 'we're interested, there was no decision to be made. I want to get back playing football which is what I enjoy most and do the best I can, so it was a no-brainer to come back.'

O'Connor gave a typical all action display from his new midfield role which augurs well for his stay with City.

With City feeling they have something to prove having had their league title wrested away from them by Dundalk, O'Connor feels he has a real part to play in the initial stages of their season.

If Kevin needs any more motivation to prove himself across the channel City will no doubt provide the platform to allow him impose that cultured left foot of his to home followers where he is a firm favourite.

New Ross Standard