Corry's pragmatic approach to pursuing his goal is a lesson worth heeding
SOCCER ANGLES:The Dubliner’s progress at Sheffield Wednesday is reward for his patience, writes MICHAEL WALKER
Paul Corry took a whack on the head on Monday. He was playing for Sheffield Wednesday reserves at Derby County when his team-mate caught him. “I didn’t know where I was for a couple of seconds,” Corry said.
It was just about the first moment of disorientation Corry has had in his four months in England and thankfully it passed quickly. Corry is 21 going-on 22 (in February) and in professional terms is not young. In fact, even at 21, some would describe him as a late developer.
But that overlooks the Dubliner’s story, his patience that helps make Corry different. That readiness to be different, to wait, is an example every schoolboy footballer in Ireland should reflect upon.
Corry could have gone to Burnley, just promoted to the Premier League, aged 16. He had offers from Reading, too, and Nottingham Forest and Crewe. Instead he chose to finish his education, take his Leaving Cert and go to college. UCD was where he headed, to the first-team in the League of Ireland and to a business degree in Commerce.
Then, and only then, did he reconsider the offers from England. In August he took up Wednesday’s. It has gone well – he made his debut before he was meant to, in a televised match against Leeds at Hillsborough. But as Corry crossed the Irish Sea and settled in Yorkshire, some of those boys who he knew at 16 were going the other way.
“Richie Towell, he signed for Celtic and he’s unattached now,” Corry said, “David Cawley, who’s at Sligo Rovers, was over with Ipswich, John Sullivan went to Hamilton but came back to Shelbourne.”
There was no triumph in Corry’s tone, he was merely giving some names of those he knew who had gone to England young and who are now back in Ireland. It is a familiar path.
Corry’s pragmatism means he added that England can happen again for such players because the League of Ireland is again interesting English clubs. He also has a pragmatic explanation as to why it is so hard for an Irish 16-year-old to “make it” across the water.
“James McClean has made a difference,” Corry said, “what he has done at Sunderland helps us. Before him, Kevin Doyle went over from the League of Ireland, Enda Stevens is at Aston Villa. That they played in the league and then went over was reassuring for me. The League of Ireland is not as bad as is made out and that’s being shown. When lads sign for clubs in Britain at 16, they go into the youth team and I think it is hard to go from a youth team into the first team.