Corcoran Enjoying Some Home Comforts at Dundalk
After two years in England, goalkeeper Jimmy Corcoran is enjoying some home comforts at Dundalk after completing his move to the Lilywhites.
The Kells native is almost part of the Oriel Park furniture at this stage. After being released by Preston North End during the summer, former Dundalk manager Vinny Perth moved quickly to try and secure the 18-year-old’s services.
The former Cherry Orchard ‘keeper looked at a number of options but, in the end, the prospect of returning home to learn his trade with the reigning League of Ireland champions proved irresistible.
“Dundalk is a great club and a club which I think can help bring me to the next level over the next couple of years,” he said.
“I’ve been here for the past eight weeks or so and it feels like I’m really part of the group. I’m working with Gary Rogers, Aaron McCarey and Steve Williams, three lads that push me and each other every day, so it’s a really good environment to be in.
“I’ve known Gary for a long time. He would have trained me when I was 12 or 13, a young goalkeeper. He would have been very good to me and I kept in contact with him over the past couple of years.
“Aaron is a top goalkeeper and a top fella as well and I don’t think there’s a better coach than Steve Williams. It’s such high-level training and competition and they’re the best three people I could ask to work with, either here or in England.”
After making the switch from Cherry Orchard to Preston in the summer of 2018, Corcoran suddenly found himself training with Alex Neil’s first-team squad – and some familiar faces – on a daily basis.
“I signed on a two-year scholarship but an injury to one of the goalkeepers meant that I was with the first-team every single day for the first six months, training with them and going to every match, home and away,” he explained. “I really enjoyed it and it was a great experience.
“Daryl Horgan was there in the early days. I did pre-season with him before he moved to Hibernian and Andy Boyle was there as well. They were really good to me as was Sean Maguire and Alan Browne, really good lads.”
“It’s a great club but I suspected that they wouldn’t offer me a new deal, especially in my second year,” he said, “and I was let go in the summer.
Corcoran was one of a host of scholars who were released from Deepdale but he said he had no regrets about making the move across the water as a 16-year-old.
“I had a really good time over there and I enjoyed every minute of it. I became a better player and a better person because of it. Obviously, I was really disappointed at the time they let me go but Vinny made contact straight away asking if I wanted to come to Dundalk.
“I thought about going down the American route, playing college soccer for four years, and I looked at going back to England as well but Dundalk is not far from my home and I’m back living with friends and family around me which is important.
“I left for Preston when I was 16 which was tough on my mam and dad. I have a lot of sisters at home and nieces and nephews so it was tough to leave that at such a young age but I think that I left as a boy and came back a man. “
After turning 18 in February, Corcoran is eligible to play U19 football both this year and next and is hoping to get some much-needed game time with the club’s underage team in the coming weeks.
He trains with the first-team on a daily basis and was part of the squad that travelled to Hungary for the recent Champions League tie with NK Celje and is also currently in Andorra for the Europa League tie with Inter Club Escaldes. By his own admission, it was a ‘world away’ from life with Preston’s U18 team.
“When Vinny brought me in he explained to me that I’d be part of the squad travelling to European games. It was a great experience being in and around those big important games, even being in the warm-up and training at the stadium the night before,” he said.
“It’s a huge step up,” he continued. “In the space of a few months, I’m after going from the U18 North West Youth Alliance – which is the league I used to play in with Preston – to experiencing a Champions League qualifier in Hungary.
“That’s something that really enticed me to come home and sign for Dundalk and the chances of playing in one of those qualifiers over the next couple of years is something that I’d really love to do.”
Filippo Giovagnoli has since replaced Perth in the Lilywhites dugout Corcoran said he was impressed by the Italian and his assistant Giuseppe Rossi’s methods on the training ground.
“I’m still young and learning the game and the way that Filippo wants us to play is very short and sharp,” he said. “Giuseppe has been giving me a few pointers about body shape and things like that, small things that you might not pick up yourself.
“We’re trying to do things that a goalkeeper might not necessarily be used to doing in the League Of Ireland,” he added. “He’s trying to bring something new to Dundalk and the lads are really enjoying it and I’m enjoying it. It’s been really good so far.”