Tuesday 20 March 2018

Sadlier makes most of decision to head south

Cork City’s Kieran Sadlier is desperate to get his hands on some silverware. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Cork City’s Kieran Sadlier is desperate to get his hands on some silverware. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

There were options for Kieran Sadlier to return to England when Cork City came calling in the summer.

But the imminent departure of Sean Maguire from Leeside convinced the 23-year-old that he was heading for the right place.

Cork paid a fee to Sligo Rovers to get Sadlier on board and the talented wide man was happier to go there than return to the country where he grew up.

The Sussex native reckons that thriving with a top side in the League of Ireland could function as a better shop window opportunity than scrapping in a lower league over the water. He views Maguire as the perfect example of that.

They used to room together at West Ham where they failed to get a look-in. Sadlier went to Peterborough but never really got a chance of first team football bar a loan stint at St Mirren.

Maguire dropped to Accrington and didn't exactly set the world alight either but coming home and eventually finding the perfect fit at Cork has turned his career around.

He's now a regular at Championship level and in Martin O'Neill's plans. Sadlier has the same ambitions.


"I could have gone back to England but I see Cork as a bigger club that is doing better things than some of the clubs in England," he says.

"It's the best club for me as a platform to really go the right way in my career."

Sadlier has been involved in the Irish football scene since the age of 15 when Tipperary connections on his late father Paul's side brought him onto the radar of the FAI.

He played all the way through the age groups and made connections along the way and when he was frustrated at Peterborough he viewed the League of Ireland as an attractive opportunity.

"Before I joined Sligo, I'd looked at other players like Richie Towell that had got moves from here. You look at Seani now and you see Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle before and the opportunity is there to go from here across to England and play at a high level. That appealed to me.

"If you're doing well with the big clubs in this country, sides from good leagues will come and watch you. I've got confidence in myself that I can get to the level that Seani has. I've made the right decision."

Tonight will be important for Sadlier. It's not just about the career graph; he wants to be successful and win things with Cork because his personal honours list is bare.

Even at youth level, medals eluded him save for an invitational tournament in the US with West Ham.

At his new club, his eyes were drawn to training ground photos of Cork's Aviva Stadium success over Dundalk last November.

They will be going back to the national stadium if they can make the best of home advantage against Limerick tonight.

"There's pictures at the training ground and you look at them coming in the morning and think, 'Yes, I want that badly too'," he says, "I'd love to get to the Aviva and thankfully I'm in a position now where I can do that. The boys did it last year and still talk about how much of a great day that it is."

It would lift the mood at Cork after Monday's near miss against Dundalk when they were minutes away from wrapping up the title against their recent nemesis.

Sadlier was a surprising omission from that game having been one of the few City players to impress in their league defeat to Limerick last Friday in Market's Field.

He's eager to be involved in the revenge mission with a view to keeping the double dream alive - in the cold light of the day a draw with Dundalk reads like a good result because they only need two points from their four remaining league fixtures to get the job done.

It looked like being wrapped up much sooner with a loss of form and the decision to schedule all of the FAI Cup in the final third of the season succeeding in dragging things out.

They will have to wait until October 13 and a trip to Bohemians for their next chance to seal the deal unless Dundalk drop points against Finn Harps next weekend - Cork's game with Derry is called off because of international call-ups.

"It's frustrating the games have been moved and we've got to wait another two weeks," he says,

"We're focused on Limerick now and reaching another cup final which everyone is aiming to do."

Sadlier arrived when most of the hard work in the league was completed, with Maguire's goals inspirational, but the cup gives him the opportunity to really shape how this season is remembered.

He's young in football terms and yet he already speaks of West Ham colleagues that have drifted from the sport completely.

"Staying in the game at whatever level is important," he stresses.

"Whatever happens, just stay in it and get games because if you're good enough and trust your ability then you'll eventually get to where you want to be."

On the first weekend of November, Sadlier plans to be at work rather on holidays.

He's one game away from ticking that box.

Irish Independent

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