Doherty: “The deal Cobh offered me was hard to turn down.”

Article by Kieran Burke – @Kieran_B_Sport/@BetweenStripes

Having been a stand-out performer in the First Division over the last number of seasons at Wexford FC, Jack Doherty’s Christmas move to Cobh Ramblers caught many by surprise. However, the former Ipswich Town midfielder has revealed in an exclusive interview with the Between the Stripes Members Club that the offer made to him by the County Cork side was too “hard to turn down.”

Despite a strong level of investment at his former club Wexford following the appointment of James Keddy as manager, Doherty insisted the deal offered to him by Cobh was too good to pass up despite the fact he did hold a number of discussions with the new man in at Ferrycarrig Park with Wexford also offering the midfielder what he described as a “good deal.”

“To be honest, I was chatting with both sides and other clubs as well but for my situation that I’m in now with a new baby, the deal they (Cobh) offered me was hard to turn down”, said the 28-year-old.

The arrival of Doherty at St.Colmans Park can very much be viewed as a coup by the Islanders given they finished bottom of last season’s nine-team First Division and with Kerry FC set to join the division in 2023, Cobh fans will be eager to see their side avoid the wooden spoon. However, Doherty feels Ramblers ambition can be much greater as he revealed the fact that manager Shane Keegan has communicated a desire to invest heavily in the playing staff for next season.

“From talking to Shane (Keegan), he wants to invest heavily into the squad this year and from my point of view, it’s a new challenge for me, I did it at Wexford as in when I first went there they were struggling for a few years, I like to put myself in uncomfortable situations and give myself a real test, I want to help Cobh improve on and off the pitch”, remarked the Carrick-On-Suir native.

It’s been an off-season of real change across the second-tier of Irish football with Ian Ryan’s shock departure from Wexford to take on the position of HEAD COACH at Bray Wanderers one of the big talking points over the winter so far. Doherty admits he did hold conversations with his old boss about a reunion by the seaside at Bray but the travel commitments that would have been involved quickly put such a possibility to one side.

“I was chatting to Ian (Ryan) a couple of times, from where I am it’s (Bray) too far from me, it’s a big commute and I only recently got a new part-time job so it’s hard for me to commute such a distance, I got on great with Ian he’s a great manager, had it been closer you never know”, admitted Doherty.

Asked for his thoughts on the squad put together by Ian Ryan since his arrival at the Carlise Grounds, Doherty admitted he was surprised to see his former boss not taking on a “bigger job” but that he has no doubt Ryan will be a success.

“He’s really driven and will get the best out of any team he goes into, I thought he would have moved bigger to be honest, he will eventually get a big job because he’s a top quality manager”, Doherty said about his old Wexford boss.

As for his former employer Wexford, Doherty admits the club will always have a special place in his heart and while he has been impressed by some of the players James Keddy has brought into the club since his departure, Doherty did offer an opinion that building an entirely new squad from scratch for a manager in his first senior job could prove to be a big challenge.

“I don’t really know James (Keddy) that well but from chatting with him on the phone a few times he seems like a nice ambitious lad.”

“It’s his first job and it’s hard for a fella like him to go into a club where there are no players re-signed and he’s building a whole new team which is hard for a manager but he’s after doing a good job with the players he has signed and from talking to him he seems to like to play (a good brand of football) as well so it will be interesting to see how he gets on”, said Doherty.

Having scored 22 goals and provided 17 assists in 81 games during his time with Wexford, on his day Doherty is one of the division’s most threatening attacking midfielders. Playing in a team that wants to get on the front foot and excite supporters is clearly something that is important to Doherty and that’s why Shane Keegan’s philosophy also played a part in Doherty agreeing to sign for Cobh Ramblers.

“For me, I want to get on the ball and play and try and make things happen so it’s vital you have a manager who thinks the same way as you, that’s the way Ian (Ryan) was as well, he likes to get it down and play and try and play, you will get caught a few times but you have to still want to do the right things and it’s vital you are going into a place where they think the same as you, I’m looking forward to it to be honest”, Doherty explained.

Having missed seven of Wexford’s final eleven league games through injury last season, Doherty revealed he has been working hard during the off-season to physically prepare himself for the demands of a grueling 2023 league campaign. With pre-season now underway at Cobh, Doherty feels he is ready to attack the new campaign with Ramblers.

“We worked hard on my legs during the off-season because I done by Meniscus so it was long enough and it wasn’t really healing the way I wanted it to either but I’m after doing a good bit now in the off-season so touch wood I’ll hit the ground running again”, remarked Doherty.

Cobh Ramblers will begin their 2023 League of Ireland First Division campaign with a historic trip to Mounthawk Park in Tralee as Kerry FC host their first-ever senior League of Ireland match on Friday, February 17th at 7.45 pm.

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