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More good news for Cork City as Irish U21 international O'Connor commits

The left-back will stay with the Leesiders for next season after an impressive 2016 campaign.

Kevin O'Connor tussling with Mijat Gacinovic during Ireland's 2017 Euro U21 qualifier against Serbia at the Waterford RSC in October.
Kevin O'Connor tussling with Mijat Gacinovic during Ireland's 2017 Euro U21 qualifier against Serbia at the Waterford RSC in October.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

CORK CITY HAVE completed another piece of good business as they build towards next season.

Having announced a new contract for top goalscorer Sean Maguire yesterday, the Leesiders have confirmed this afternoon that Kevin O’Connor will also remain with the club in 2017.

The attacking left-back was one of City’s star performers in 2016, as John Caulfield guided the club to another second place finish in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division and their first FAI Cup triumph in nine years.

“It’s good to be back,” O’Connor told City’s official website. “I just wanted to get everything sorted and I am looking forward to next season. I think we can kick on from what we did last season and hopefully go one step further in the league this year.

“There was a huge team spirit in the dressing room last year and hopefully we can build on that. John has obviously made a few new signings, but the bulk of the team will be here again next year, which is good because I think we had a great squad here.

“I think you have to improve every year. You want to get better every game and the ultimate aim is to be the best you can be. I was happy with how last year went, but I won’t be settling for that. I want to go even further this year.”

O’Connor, a native of Enniscorthy in Wexford, joined City from Waterford United midway through the 2015 season. An Irish U21 international, he made 28 appearances for the club in 2016.

K-OConnor-2017 Kevin O'Connor with Cork City manager John Caulfield following today's new contract announcement. Source: CorkCityFC.ie

“It’s fantastic, we are really delighted,” said City manager John Caulfield. “The squad is nearly complete now and Kevin is another part of that jigsaw. We all know how good he is, he came in two years ago and was very good, and he was phenomenal last year. We are looking for him to drive on again next year and be even better.

“He was part of the cup-winning team, he saw the celebrations and he saw what a huge role he had for us this year. It is important for us to retain our top players, which we have done, and Kevin is another one of those.

“We have our back five from last season signed up again and Kevin was the final cog in that. He is a talented young player and he is hungry for success, and that is why it was vital for us to keep him.”

City have already brought in Conor McCormack from Derry City and Sligo Rovers pair Jimmy Keohane and Achille Campion for the 2017 season, but Caulfield says there may still be more new arrivals.

“We are nearly done now,” he said. “We have 18 players done and we also have a few of our Under 19s to come in. We will bring in possibly one or two more. I am not surprised that players have signed back. The players can see what a fantastic club this is, how well we did last year and there is a lot of hunger in this team.

“We want to win trophies and, after playing in Europe, they can see the platform this club is at, the facilities we have and the whole make-up of the club. Everything at the club is set up for a professional player and geared for more success, and that is what we want.”

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