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Conor McDonald: The Student

Started on 18 April 2020 by Jack
Latest Reply on 8 May 2024 by Michael R Wilson
All under control here, amazing what happens when you have time to make some player choices
Auto-correct can be a pain. :P Cobh are still looking very impressive. Poor Limerick were blown out of the water.

Conor didn’t want to look at his bank account. He knew that he had spent well over €60 just tonight with no returns. He saw the list of poker tournaments and selected the one which had the largest cost/profit ratio in order to win his money back.

Conor knew that every time he arrived on the ‘deposit’ screen that he was doing something bad and entering deeper into a dark hole.

Conor didn’t make enough money to pay rent and live on it and his home was paid for by the club. This left money for food and general supplies and that was about it. However, Conor was spending more on gambling than on food. Sure, he had won a few times but he received nothing like the money he was putting into the games. Every night felt like it was to be his lucky night but that feeling quickly faded once the billings to the betting companies started to pile up on his bank statements.

This hadn’t happened either back home in Liverpool or in his university accommodation in Burnley.

Back then, Conor had company to keep him away from this cycle. He would have been sitting with his parents watching his mum’s favourite Nordic drama or listening to his dad go on a xenophobic rant as BBC News at Ten played out, which Conor would have to add a modern argument against his dad which was usually entertaining enough for the evening.

Back in university, he might’ve been planning to go out for a few drinks or staying indoors with his flatmates, listening to music, watching Netflix, doing whatever made the evening pass.

These days, Conor just felt alone. The only time he got out of the house was for training or matches, shopping or exercise. He tried to go to the local pub up the road a couple of times but people there had their own groups of people and he didn’t feel comfortable ingratiating himself, especially with an English accent.

As Conor lost the hand despite having pocket Aces and going all-in, he sighed angrily before looking despairingly at the notification.

You finished 247th out of 280. You did not qualify for prize money. Would you like to buy into the tournament again for €10?

Conor clicked the ‘deposit’ button once again.

Justice: Maintaining that lead is the hard part!
James: Coming up to June time you may be right about those English clubs letting go of their players, it's certainly something that's on my radar.
tedbro20: It all comes down to finances in a new contract I think! If Cobh don't offer Conor a good amount of money, you can imagine he will consider his future.
Griffo: Those few months at the beginning of the season were hugely important in season preparation, yes!
Scott: Limerick have suffered the brunt of some of our best performances since I arrived! Unlucky them :P
Alone and lonely in a strange place can do some weird things to you...
Management can be a lonely place. I have a lot of sympathy for Conor because being thrown into a completely different environment can be difficult to deal with. I hope he can recognise his behaviour and seek help. He just needs a friend. Very sad!

As Cobh entered the summer period of the season, their lead at the top has quickly eroded to simply leading the way on goal difference. Despite this, they have managed to defeat two top-flight teams in a row to reach the EA Sports Cup Semi-Final.

The month began with a loss to the preseason title favourites Drogheda United. Marco Chindea scored a very early opener for Drogheda in the 1st minute. Stephen Lawless equalised but once again, Drogheda took the lead just two minutes after with a goal from Chris Kavanagh.

Drogheda were 4-1 up against Cobh by the 47th minute and Cobh were most certainly out of the game. Ian Turner scored a consolation from the penalty spot to make it 4-2 which is how the game ended.

After beating their provincial rivals Cork City in the Quarter-Final, Cobh took on St. Patrick’s Athletic in the EA Sports Cup Semi-Final.

St. Patrick’s Athletic - based in Dublin - sit in 8th place in the Premier League and have not dropped out of the top-flight since they joined the League of Ireland since its formation in 1985.

However, they couldn’t help but lose out to Conor McDonald’s team as Darragh Power scored an early winner in the 10th minute of the game at Richmond Park.

Second tier underachievers Galway United could find a way past Cobh Ramblers, though, as they went on to secure three points at St. Colman’s Park thanks to a late, late winner in the 92nd minute from Dean Dillon.

Cobh did manage to get slightly back on track with their first league victory of the month against bottom of the table Wexford in a 2-0 win as Cameron Moore and Paul Fox bagged both goals to keep top of the table.

One of the early contenders for the title, University College Dublin did manage to make matters worse for Cobh in the league with a tight 1-0 victory with a goal from one of the divisions’ top scorers in Rob Waters.

Cobh’s final league fixture of the month came with an away game against Cabinteely where Jamie O’Hara put Cobh ahead before an equaliser just after the half-time restart from Dean Casey led to the game finishing 1-1 which saw Conor McDonald’s men finish the month level on points with Drogheda, leading only by their superior six-goal advantage in goal difference.

The month ended with a 3-1 win over Galway & District Premier League side Casement Celtic in a friendly game at St. Colman’s Park.

Upcoming Fixtures:
Finn Harps (H) - League
Dundalk (H) - Friendly
Limerick (A) - League
Bohemian (H) - Friendly
Shamrock Rovers (H) - Friendly

Griffo: Loneliness is taking its toll on Conor, that's for sure.
Scott: It's every young lads dream to be in involved in football, especially with the seniority Conor has but when you leave your old life and friends behind in doing so, it can encourage bad behaviour as seen here.
Oh dear. Conor needs to get himself sorted, as it appears his off-field problems are having an adverse affect on how he leads his squad. Anything but promotion after the start you had to the season would be a failure! :<
It's been hard for Conor on and off the pitch. A fantastic upset in the cup though. Perhaps the cup exploits have led to the squad becoming a bit sidetracked? Hopefully this brief drop in form in the league is only temporary.
Looks like the off field antics are starting to distract him now. Going to have to get his head straight to try and keep hold of top spot but it's been acoullenof good results in there with the cup
The off-field issues are translating to the on-field performances. Not ideal. The lead is still there but Conor needs to power through this sticky period if he wants to continue to succeed with Cobh.

Despite only having two competitive fixtures throughout this month, Cobh Ramblers have done well to hold onto their lead at the top of the Airtricity First Division, albeit only by goal difference.

June started off with a league fixture against the relegated Finn Harps who sit only two points above bottom of the league Wexford.

Cobh got back to winning ways with a 2-0 win - their first league victory since beating Wexford in mid-May. Eoin Porter scored the opener before Shamrock Rovers loanee Danila Bogdanov doubled The Rams’ lead just before half-time.

Next up, Cobh Ramblers arranged a friendly against Irish national champions Dundalk at St. Colman’s Park. There was no surprise when the visitors took an early lead through Patrick Hoban.

Just after half-time, Dundalk were leading 2-1 against Conor McDonald’s side. However, 17-year-old Adam Williams became the hero as he single-handedly took down the Premier League champions with a brace.

With Cobh two points ahead of Drogheda United going into their away game against Limerick in the league, Drogheda drew level on points with Cobh once again thanks to a 1-1 draw at Markets Field.

Cameron Moore managed to cancel out Darragh Burns’ first goal for Limerick as Drogheda United defeated Cabinteely 4-2 the same Friday.

To make up for the lack of competitive fixtures throughout June, Conor McDonald arranged two more friendlies to maintain the squad’s match fitness against Bohemian - where Cobh drew 1-1.

The Ramblers’ final game of the month was against their parent club Shamrock Rovers as they won 3-2 with Danila Bogdanov bagging a late 93rd minute winner. The quality of results that Cobh have displayed against top tier sides has suggested that perhaps Cobh can deal with top-flight football if it ever comes to East Cork.

As it stands now, Cobh still sit top of the table where they have been since matchday 5 with their 2-1 home win over Cabinteely.

Upcoming Fixtures:
Longford Town (H) - League
Cobh Wanderers (H) - Friendly
Athlone Town (H) - League
Galway United (H) - Friendly
Galway United (A) - League

James: It seems to be recovering on the field and you are right, having led the way so long, it would be a tragedy to miss out on top-flight football now.
Scott: There are plenty of cups to compete in at this level and region of Ireland which could be an impact on the league form, it says a lot that our form improved throughout June despite not having many cup games too.
tedbro20: Indeed, it's a troubling thing in modern society to be able to gamble whenever you want to and it does have adverse effects on anyone's life.
Justice: Conor's career is only just beginning, he will be damned if it is tainted by gambling.
Still top of the league and thats all that matters. I wonder how long it is until Conor is charged for betting on Cobh Ramblers to make his money back
Seems this move has been tough for Conor with a gambling problem seemingly taking over. In terms of results it seems to have become a bit more mixed of late with the lead at the top dropping off quite a bit. Hopefully something can change soon and the lead will become greater again.
Tuesday, 28th July 2020

* * *

“Dear Diary,

A few weeks ago, I tried killing myself. Not over the gambling that I have been overdoing but over the job at Cobh. Management itself. Nobody at the club or anybody for that matter found out, fortunately. They never will either. I didn’t like poison, it made me sick, and - as you can tell - the suicide attempt failed and I didn’t not live to regret it. Thankfully.

As a result though, I had a retching laburnum seed hangover for days and a face paler than Roy Keane’s kneecaps. On top of that, a strange new sensation, like a scar on the vision after staring at a brightness too long. Every time I awoke I had a tune with me, every day for the rest of my life. It sounds dubious I know but it’s true. A song, always a different one, accompanied me, on every single new day.

The first morning after the green and black laburnum seeds, me retching more vomit than a vomit-making factory on overtime, had Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles haunting my return to living.

My dreams had been weird - not so surprising really, with poison chundering away inside me - consisting mostly of the Cobh team winning the 2032 Champions League. Oh, not forgetting me, John, Paul, George and Ringo in the team too incidentally, and doing a lap of honour round the pitch. Ringo I remember was particularly giddy. I always preferred him, he was easily the best Beatle in my book.

From all that I surmised - naturally, you could say - that the Cobh players and The Beatles saved my life. Yes, I’m aware some people would say what an unbelievable, incredible dream it was, and I admit it, I really couldn’t disagree with them. I mean, Cobh winning the Champions League, get a grip!

To be dead straight about it, I was never exactly proud about trying to kill myself. Fortunately nobody ever found out then. Now, it’s hardly relevant; I had been a prick.”

tedbro20: As long as we lead the way, it makes things in our control!
Seb: It's a very tough time to fit in among new surroundings, especially with such a key role not just at the club but at a club which is very much at the heart of it's community! It's a lot to handle.
A life changing experience that will hopefully help Conor come out the other side a better person and manager

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