WHEN Cork City manager John Caulfield came calling recently with the offer of an eighteen month professional contract, young Letterkenny striker Cillian Morrison was forced to make a ‘very tough’ decision.
A civil engineering graduate from UCD, Cillian (22) had another offer on the table – the chance to complete his masters at Belfield while continuing to ply his trade for the students in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.
However the lure of playing professional sport proved to be too strong and, as a result, the Letterkenny man headed Leeside last weekend to join his new team mates at Turners Cross.
Those team-mates include Ballybofey’s Johnny Dunleavy, who is Cork City’s captain this year, while he shares a house with brothers Billy and Darren Dennehy and Iarfhlaith Davoren.
As a schoolboy, he played with Ballyraine and the Letterkenny and District Schoolboys, before making his way to Letterkenny Rovers. He then signed for Derry City, playing for their U18 and U20 sides before joining UCD under their scholarship programme.
“This is my first pro contract as I had been an amatuer with UCD who’ve been very good to me. They offered me the chance to complete my masters while there were a couple of other offers on the table too but I decided on Cork and moved here at the weekend,” he said.
Ineligible to play last week – the transfer window doesn’t open until today (July 1) – Cillian (22) is hoping to be in the panel for Cork’s trip to the Sligo Showgrounds on Friday.
“It will take me a little time to get to grips with full-time training but I’m looking forward to the challenge and, hopefully, I’ll give John (Caulfield) a selection headache in the not too distant future,” he said.
Cillian sought advice from both John Caulfield, who was his manager when he played for the Irish Universities team last year, and Johnny Dunleavy before moving to Cork.
“I rang him (Johnny) before I went down and he spoke highly of the place while I also spoke to John (Caulfield). He was manager of the Irish Univesities last year and I like his philosophy on the game. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
Reflecting back on his time at UCD, Cillian said that their Scholarship scheme was the best in Ireland.
“They looked after me very well but, in the end, I was ready to make the next move. I can always come back and do my masters but Cork are onthe crest of a wave at the moment and I want to be part of that. It’s a short career and this was an opportunity that I felt I couldn’t really turn down,” he said.
Cillian is the son of Seamus and Marjorie from Glebe in Letterkenny.