Kevin O’Connor looks to leave parting gift for City faithful

Since he arrived at Cork City, Kevin O’Connor has strived to live up to these goals.

Tomorrow night, he is determined to show his dedication to the home faithful for one final time at Turner’s Cross.

The Wexford man leaves Cork City — alongside his good friend Sean Maguire — for a new adventure at Preston North End in the English Championship at the end of the month. Before that, however, O’Connor will hope to leave another parting gift for manager John Caulfield.

“From the minute I came in, John showed faith in me, to put me in the team, and I’ve just been trying to replay him ever since,” says O’Connor.

“I felt year on year I’ve just been getting better, quicker, stronger. Same as the team. We’ve progressed every year, and that’s all you can ask for.

“We’ve one goal in mind and that’s the win the league and get as many trophies as we can to this city, and obviously if we can get a good run in Europe as well.”

After the thrilling 6-2 aggregate victory over Levadia Tallinn last week, the opposition moves up a level for Cork City tomorrow night.

AEK Larnaca arrived in Cork yesterday, and the ambitious Cypriot club’s squad has a distinctive Iberian flavour, with eight Spaniards in their 20-man squad which has travelled.

Their coach is the Basque Imanol Idiakez, brother of former Derby County player and current Rams first team coach Inago Idiakez. The pedigree doesn’t cause O’Connor any worries.

“I don’t think you should be daunted by anybody,” says O’Connor, whose family will travel from Wexford to see his last game at Turner’s Cross.

“We know they’re a very good side, and they like to keep possession. On the counter attack we know with the players we have going forward, we can cause any team damage.”

Preston were on a training camp at Fota in Cork on Sunday and O’Connor and Maguire travelled down to meet their new team-mates, and to meet new coach Alex Neil, who has replaced Simon Grayson.

It was Grayson who signed the Cork duo before leaving Preston last week to take the Sunderland hot-seat.

“It’s a bit strange the manager who signed you has got up and left but it’s a new chance for us, every one starts on a clean slate,” says O’Connor. “Alex seems like a good coach. I look forward to working with him but Thursday is most important at the minute.”

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