A Cork City legends side will be reeling in the years at Turner’s Cross next month as they take to the field for Alan Bennett’s testimonial game.
Club heroes like Dave Barry, Declan Daly, Dave Hill, Tony Tynan, Damien Delaney, Joe Gamble, John O’Flynn, Liam Kearney, Dan Murray, and Derek Coughlan have been confirmed to play against members of the current men’s and women’s first-team, including Mark McNulty, Gearóid Morrissey, Conor McCarthy, Mark O’Sullivan, Ciara McNamara, Maggie Duncliffe, Katie McCarthy, and Christina Dring.
The game will take place at Turner’s Cross on Saturday, September 14 (kick-off 3pm). A percentage of the monies raised from the game will be donated to the Samaritans in Cork, while a contribution will also go to the Cork City FC Academy, where Bennett is part of Dave Moore’s U13 management team. Bennett is also part of John Cotter’s current senior backroom team and his playing staff.
“When the club approached me, I felt honoured to do this, privileged to be in this position,” said Bennett yesterday.
“It’s humbling. I want to make it a family day, where Cork City FC is celebrated as a club, for what it is in the community, and with the help of Éanna Buckley (club operations manager) and Declan (Carey, FORAS board of management chairman), and the other board members, it’s going ahead, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Bennett’s former City team-mate Neil Horgan has been a huge help in organising the match and he had some advice for his friend, having had his own testimonial a decade ago.
“The first thing Neil Horgan told me is it’s like marrying yourself, that’s what the whole day is like,” said Bennett. “I kind of get that feeling alright. It’s a little bit embarrassing but there is the charity element, the academy element and these are my main drivers.
“The Samaritans are dealing with the youth in Cork and the impact they have on young people and the service they provide, I think it ties in with the family day and the Cork City FC academy because we’ve all young lads and girls at our academy who might need their support in years to come. It’s very important to me, and for personal reasons as well.”
Bennett joined City as a youth player in 2000, graduating to the first-team and picking up a league title in 2005 before leaving for Reading in 2007. He returned to the club in 2015 after eight years in England, where he also played for Southampton, Brentford, Wycombe, Cheltenham and Wimbledon. Twice-capped by Ireland, the defender has won two league titles at Turner’s Cross and two FAI Cups.