Saturday 16 December 2017

No regrets but Rovers recruit Corry happy to be home

Shamrock Rovers signing Paul Corry is prepared for life after football. Photo: Sportsfile
Shamrock Rovers signing Paul Corry is prepared for life after football. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

Hailing from a family of accountants, Paul Corry knew the numbers stacked up when it came to joining the Shamrock Rovers revolution.

League of Ireland football is dominated by financial issues but the measurement of time was more influential in his decision to return home from England to accept an offer from Stephen Bradley.

Fourteen months have passed since he featured in a competitive game.

That was in the colours of Northampton Town, the club he soon felt at home with following a turbulent few years at Sheffield Wednesday.

Just as his confidence returned, though, Corry's luck disappeared.

"I was only there weeks at Northampton when a simple change of direction in training led to my knee popping twice," said the 25-year-old.

"The top surgeon in England, Andy Williams, said 'listen, it's a nine-to-12 month job'. If it happened five years earlier, my career could have been over.

"I had my ligaments reconstructed so when you put everything together it has been mentally very challenging."

Corry now has the maturity to cope with such a setback. He says that wasn't always the case.

Before linking up with UCD as a teenager in 2009, he spurned the opportunity to joining Burnley.

"I wasn't prepared for England then," he admitted. "I'd trained with the Burnley squad for about 10 days after they got promoted to the Premiership but I didn't quite feel I was at the right age to go away."

Corry was giving up the chance most peers would jump at, but he was vindicated. During the dark days of his lay-off, the degree he gained while at UCD remained foremost in his mind.

Football is his profession, yet circumstances can change and options reduce. Re-entering the League he left four years ago, Corry urges League of Ireland players to line up an alternative route should plans go awry.

"For any player in the League, I think you're foolish not preparing for after football," he said. "Whether it be studies or coaching badges, it's important to have something in life instead of football

"If retired today, I have some unbelievable memories to look back on in England, such as making my Championship debut in the derby against Leeds in front of 30,000 people.

"I've played against some really good players and with the likes of Ross Barkley, Connor Wickham, Michail Antonio and Chris Kirkland.

"They are things you wouldn't be able to experience in Ireland."

Rovers reported for pre-season this week, an indication that Rovers' new regime mean business in their attempts to challenge Dundalk for the title.

Corry will be integral to the adventure, harnessing a midfield that lacked pace and panache during last season's lacklustre campaign.

Resurrecting the biggest brand in Irish football, rather than follow the family tradition of balancing the books, is his priority.

"Both my parents are accountants, my brother is an accountant, my younger brother is probably going to be an accountant, so it's a boring family!" he quipped

"It's such a different career path. As an accountant, all you see is that line where if you do well, you hit straight road whereas with football, it's up and down, windy roads and you don't know which way it's going to go."

Irish Independent

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