Hot-shot O’Flynn proves the exception

INTERNATIONAL recognition for Ireland’s U21 team proved to Cork City hot-shot John O’Flynn that there is life after the English League.

The 21-year-old O'Flynn proved the exception to the rule when he made the breakthrough with Ireland after he had returned from a full-time career in England with Peterborough.

His elevation to Don Givens' squad for matches against Albania and Georgia was totally productive.

"Training and playing together with the international lads from England every day for more than two weeks was a great experience," he said, "I totally enjoyed it and hopefully I can go on and advance from there."

The impact he has made with Cork City in the first half of the new season confirmed first impressions as he extended his goal-scoring streak to keep Cork in contention for Championship honours. He is top-scorer in the League with eleven goals in ten matches.

"There were people who suggested at the start of the season that I might suffer from second season syndrome. They suggested that because I had played so well in my first season that I would find it more difficult second time round and would have a bit of a downer.

"I vowed to myself that I would keep playing as hard as I could and prove everybody wrong. And getting called up for Ireland was a great encouragement. There is a friendly against Poland in August and I just hope I will be involved again."

Cork's return from twelve matches in the League has been mixed just four wins and 17 points. But the unpredictable nature of the competition means they are still within reach of the top with leaders Shelbourne on 23 points.

Said O'Flynn: "It is weird the way results have gone. You cannot under-estimate any team in the League and if a team succeeds in winning two or three matches on the troy they could fly to the top. Nobody looks capable of running away with it."

The change of management at Cork from Liam Murphy to Pat Dolan was bound to impact and O'Flynn confirmed this when he said: "Everybody accepts that last season there was a big turnaround when Liam brought in so many new players.

"Liam is still involved and it worked well for us with what we had. Now Pat has come in and brought a totally new system with Dave Mahedy and Noel O'Connor and everybody gelling together so we have different people working with us on different aspects," he said.

"Pat is a very influential figure with a great love of the game and great enthusiasm and that rubs off on the players. It is all very positive and hopefully we can go on improving."

O'Flynn is central to Cork's hopes and he is keeping his fingers crossed that he will have recovered from a shin injury he received against Bohemians in time to play against Longford Town tonight (Turner's Cross 7.45 pm).

Manager Pat Dolan will welcome back team captain Greg O'Halloran after serving a one-match ban but admitted the performance against champions Bohemians was such that he would find it difficult to omit any of the players who did so well at Dalymount.

He will wait until O'Flynn undergoes a fitness test today before considering his options and will also bring Alan Carey and Kevin Murray into the frame for selection.

Longford are currently second from bottom in the table but that is a false position and manager Alan Matthews' hand will be strengthened by the return of centre-back Barry Ferguson after serving a one-match ban.

Shelbourne manager Pat Fenlon has a full squad of fit players to select from for their match against Drogheda United at Tolka Park (7.45 pm). But he is still contemplating a change or two from the team that beat Longford.

"We have a big squad so it makes sense to freshen the team up from match to match," he said.

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