Heartbreak for Brian

Heart Breaking for Brian

All at Corinthians and throughout Cork Soccer and the wider football community are absolutely gutted for Brian Lenihan with this week’s news that Brian will have to retire from professional football on medical grounds. It has been an extremely difficult time for Brian who has suffered continuously with injuries since he left Cork City for his dream move to Hull City in 2014. Lesser people would have called a halt before now but true to his character, Brian was never going to give up his dream easily and battled on before finally succumbing this week.

It is an awful shame because I am sure anybody who worked with Brian in Corinthians, Cork City, Hull City or with the various Irish squads will vouch for the fact that not only was Brian an outstanding talent but a fantastic personality with a great attitude on and off the pitch, somebody who you would always want on your side.

Brian joined Corinthians as a five year old and played with every age group and team from under 7 to Senior League. From the first day he arrived up to Corinthians, you could see what an exceptional talent he was; six year olds generally don’t look to switch the play or look for options wide, but this six year old did. His mind and his thought process were always ahead of his time. He played the game simply, nothing spectacular but always in control.

He was part of a Corinthians Under 11 squad, which reached the National Cup final in 2006 losing 2-1 to St. Joseph Boys and ironically in the way things have turned out, Corinthians cause was not helped by the fact that Brian limped off early in the second half. His football ability even at that young age was there for anyone to see as strong in possession he never wasted a ball and though small and slight he made up for his lack of physique with his terrific attitude.

He was selected to play in the CSL Under 12 squad, which went onto win the All Ireland Title and represented the CSL in the Kennedy Cup, the following year. His abilities were soon recognized at international level and Brian played several times for Irish Schoolboy teams. Through out all this time he remained tremendously committed to Corinthians and won a number of CSL League and Cup winners medals with the Club. He played with the Corinthians senior team as a sixteen year old and was part of the senior squad, which won promotion back to the Premier Division in 2011. Shortly after he joined Cork City and having missed most of his first season with the League Of Ireland squad through injury; still only nineteen, he established himself in the Cork City side in 2013 and was outstanding at right back for City. Within a few months cross channel Clubs were knocking at City’s door looking to sign Brian and in 2014 he signed for Hull City.

Roy Keane and Martin O’ Neill were so impressed that they brought him to train with the Irish Senior squad. There is no question but at that stage Brian was the outstanding young talent in Irish soccer.  Sadly the three-year’s since have been hell for Brian as he struggled desperately with injury culminating in this week’s announcement.  It is heartbreaking for Brian and his family who have been wonderful supporters of Brian and of College Corinthians. To see someone so talented and with such a fantastic attitude having to give up his dream is very sad.

Despite his troubles, Brian never changed and was always very good to the Club, last season he was asked would he speak to our Under 15 Premier team prior to the National Cup final against St. Marys. He was brilliant with the lads and they left the Mardyke Arena that Sunday six inches taller and went on to win the National Cup four days later.

Hopefully the fantastic strength of character that Brian possesses will stand to him in the months ahead and I have no doubt that whatever Brian does in the future he will make a success of it. He is a legend in Corinthians and always will be on and off the pitch.

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