Q1: First of all Jack, welcome to the club. Having come through the Shelbourne under-19 set up this is your first big move in senior football, how are you feeling about the transfer and are there any nerves at all?
A1: Firstly, I just wanted to say how delighted I am to be at Longford Town. This is a very exciting time for me and a brand new experience that I’m looking forward to. I don’t feel under any nerves at all. Playing at u19 level was massively beneficial for my development, it gave me great experience in terms of playing in big stadiums, against big clubs, and it also showed me how to prepare for away games and how to deal with high pressure situations. I was able to use these experiences when I made the jump to first team football (at Shelbourne). I got a good experience in the league last year, and hopefully I’m ready for the step up with Longford.
Q2: You only turn twenty-years-old in a couple of weeks, as a young goalkeeper do you feel this is not only the right time to be making a move to one of the divisions biggest clubs but the right club and management team to help with your development as a professional footballer?
A2: I believe the move is going to be huge for me personally. I believe there is an opportunity for this team to really progress and really push for promotion and that all comes down to the management and coaching. I’ve already experienced the professionalism and organisation of the management staff in helping me join the club. Both Alan Mathews and Kevin Doherty are extremely confident that we will push for promotion this year and I believe that having this attitude is the only way that a team could be good enough to go up. They believe in their squad and that trust is vital for both my personal development and the clubs development.
Q3: Despite your tender years, last season was a fantastic one for you personally as you claimed the player of the year award at ”Shels”. Considering the incredible history of Shelbourne FC, what did it mean to you to win such a prestigious award?
A3: I was absolutely delighted to win the Player of the Year award last season. It was a disappointing season for “Shels” but sometimes things just don’t go right in football. No matter how you prepare, no matter how good your attitude is on the pitch, no matter how hard you work, It’s not always going to work out. Thankfully for me personally I received an accolade which had previously been won by league winners and players who have gone on to do big things in the game. To be honest, when I received the award I couldn’t help but hope that one day I would go on and achieve great things in the game too. There’s no point in playing the game if you don’t believe you will achieve anything.
Q4: Shelbourne are expected to be one of Longford’s main contenders for promotion to the Premier Division next season. Did you think about staying on for another season at Tolka Park at all or was your mind made up on a move to Longford fairly quickly?
A4: Shelbourne is a great club, and of course I would have considered staying on. But when I was speaking to Alan and Kevin they made my mind up for me. I realise how big a club Longford is and when I was presented with the opportunity to join I couldn’t refuse it. I think it will be a big chance for me to show what I can do and I believe that the club will bring my game on to another level.
Q5: You’ve become the second player to arrive in the Midlands from Tolka Park in recent days with Gavin Boyne also swapping the red strip for the red and black stripes of Longford. Do you feel Gavin’s arrival at the club may help you settle in that bit quicker and for those reading this interview who may not know a lot about Gavin, what would you say his best attributes as a footballer are?
A5: Gav is a great lad. We got on great at the club last year and I believe that chemistry will benefit both of us in settling in to our new home. It’s always nice to see familiar faces, especially when they can play a bit! Gav was great for us last year in the middle of the park; he gets himself in great positions and is a great passer of the ball. I expect him to score a few goals and create lots of chances from midfield this year. He is also the fittest man on the planet and is not afraid to do the dirty work of defending around the box, so that helps me out a lot!
Q6: So far in this off-season, Alan Mathews has appeared to re-sign players with experience of winning the First Division. Do you feel the experience of players such as Kevin O’Connor, Rhys Gorman and David O’Sullivan will be a key factor for ”De Town” this season?
A6: It is imperative to getting out of this division. Last year at “Shels” we had a very inexperienced side bar 2 or 3 players and that ultimately cost us. But I feel playing with experienced players will not just help us get promoted, but it will be massively beneficial to the younger players in learning how the game works. These players will play a huge role if the season is to be successful. The first division is always a battle, and from my knowledge, experience tends to come out on top.
Q7: Battling you for the number one jersey next season will be another former Shelbourne man in Paul Skinner. Do you feel the competition for a starting place will raise the performance levels of both yourself and ”Skins” next season?
A7: Absolutely, I’ve seen “Skins” play and I’m very impressed with him. I know that I will have to work very hard to get into the team but that applies everywhere, so hopefully if I’m given my chance I take it. I firmly believe that the coaching staff will make the correct decision come the first day of the season based on how January and February’s preparation goes. If I’m in the team, great, but if I’m not I know that some part of my game will need improving and that’s how football works.
Q8: Finally Jack, do you have a message for your new fans ahead of 2017?
A8: I honestly think this season is going to be brilliant for us. Between the coaching staff, players and professional attitudes of the club we are in with a great chance of going straight back to the premier division. I hope the fans are itching to get back because I cannot wait to get started. The fans have been very supportive to me already and I hope that myself and the team can repay them in every way on the pitch. It’s going to be a fantastic experience playing at Longford and I think it will be a fantastic year too.