Cobh Ramblers under-19 Nathan Broderick: 'You get that extra second or two on the ball in the Munster Senior League'

Sat, Mar 24 2018

Cobh Ramblers are well-known as a club that bring young players into League of Ireland football. Whether they are giving chances to their own underage players or picking up lads from neighbours Cork City, the Rams are often a welcome route into senior football for players who might otherwise see their ambitions played out at intermediate level in the Munster Senior League.

In 2018, Stephen Henderson’s senior squad contained no fewer than 15 players who made their league debuts for Cobh having come through either Cobh or Cork City’s underage programmes.

Five of last season’s underage players at Cobh have already played for Henderson’s senior side this season. No wonder then that young players in the Munster area are keen to sign for the First Division club.

One of the latest crop of young pretenders to join Cobh’s under-19 set up is former Rockmount midfielder Nathan Broderick.

The coaching staff at Ramblers have high hopes for Broderick, who is himself thrilled to have joined last season’s National League South champions having taken a somewhat convoluted route to the national league.

“I played a bit all over the place” he tells extratime.ie.

“After a season or two with a club I was asked to join others and it would be a case of whether they were in a better division or challenging in higher level competitions.

“I’ve won leagues and trophys with Castleview, Blarney United and won a double with Wilton United’s under-18s last year.

“I was going to carry on playing in the Cork youths under-19 league until Rockmount said they wanted me to sign for their senior team.

“I went to train and saw it was step up from what I was playing at the time, and I wanted to get into playing senior football. I enjoyed the short time I played at that level. It helped me better myself in a midfield role.”

Broderick spends a lot of his free time in the gym, adding core body strength for the challenge that lies ahead.

“Midfielders this year will be a lot stronger than those I have played against up to now,” he says, adding that pre-season training has already tested him in new ways.

“It’s been the toughest one I’ve done yet on the fitness side. I’ve never run as much before, ever, and I feel fitter now than ever before and know I can give 100% for 90 minutes now.”

Anyone who regularly watches the Munster Senior League will know it is full of quality teams and players, but Broderick acknowledges that playing a part in the Rams 2018 season will mean stepping up another level.

“The big difference between Munster Senior League and League of Ireland that I’ve noticed is the pace of play. You get that extra second or two on the ball in MSL to look up.

“I’ve only played twice against League of Ireland sides, both times in pre-season, and playing in the middle, the pace picks up and you get closed down faster.

“The training is more intense too. We play at 100% as well as doing hard hill runs at the end of every session.

“I’ve always played midfield. I had a short period when I played as a winger but didn’t suit me best.

“I’ve played as a number 10 a lot, helping more in an attacking position, but the last couple of months I’ve been playing box-to-box and it’s helped me a lot. I need to be doing more as a midfielder at this level.”

Asked what he thinks a midfielder needs to be successful, Broderick answers with an awareness that is impressive.

“I would say communication off the ball is a big one. Decision making, awareness of what’s around you, and a bit of confidence in yourself to get at defences.”

And then he says something that hints at that bit of added steel which all successful footballers need.

“What I enjoy most with football is the last stages of a season, when it comes to the big games, and when you get to the big knockout games in the cups. I always want to be still competing for the top spot when it comes down to final games.”

I suggest that he’s landed at a good club if he wants to succeed at national level. Unsurprisingly, Broderick agrees.

“Yeah, It’s good to know that our senior team bring a lot of youth through to senior level. Last year this group topped the division and lost in the quarter finals.

“I think the squad that’s been put together here this year is very strong and with the work we have put in over the last couple of weeks we’ll look to win it.”

Cobh under-19s begin the defence of their Southern title on Sunday afternoon when they face Wexford at Ferrcarrig Park. Kick-off is 2pm.

As Lou Reed once said, It’s the ‘beginning of a great adventure.'