Eager to make an impact under John Caulfield’s stewardship at Galway United, new signing Charlie Lyons believes significant potential exists in the west of Ireland.
Having spent three years in the SSE Airtricity League with Cobh Ramblers following a stint with Preston North End, Lyons is relishing the new challenge.
“I'm delighted to be on board, I met John and had a few phonecalls with him,” Lyons says. “He sold the club to me, with the play-offs, and how well they did last year it was a no brainer for me to get the deal done.”
Lyons also had a couple of conversations with former Ramblers colleague David Hurley. “I spoke to Dave a few times when I heard it could be an option, he said he was delighted with how he moved up here and how well it went,” Lyons says.
“I watched the play-off game against Bray, there were 5,000 people at it, that is down to the team. If we start performing, winning games then the crowds will come - hopefully it will be a good season for all of us.”
The manner in which Cobh aided Lyons’ development is not forgotten by the UCC student. “I owe a lot to Cobh,” Lyons replies. “After coming home from England I just needed to go to play men's football, that was the platform for me. I think I made more than 65 appearances in the last three years or so.
“I'd like to wish them all the best for the year coming, it is their 100th year in existence. It is a great club down there, they have the right people on the board to drive them on. They are going in the right direction.
“It was a platform for me to go to play, that is what I wanted to do. I could have gone into U19s playing academy football again, but that wasn't for me, I wanted to go out to play men's games, learning my trade. “
During his stint with Preston North End Lyons was grateful for the support offered to him at the time by Galwegians Daryl Horgan and Greg Cunningham. “It was an opportunity I couldn't turn down when I was 15,” Lyons recalls.
“Daryl and Greg they were there at the same time and to be fair to them they looked after me as if I was one of their own. It was a great opportunity at such a young age, I definitely learned a few life lessons over there.
“When I first went over there I was in with the first team after about two or three months. Then I was in with them twice a week under Simon Grayson. That summer he left, he went to Sunderland, Alex Neill came in. So it was like starting fresh again. Going into my second year then I got surgery on a shoulder, I was out for about six months.
“He had his squad picked so I was binned off to the side. I returned from that surgery and about three weeks later I was getting surgery on a knee. I was out for about 10 months in a row which did me no favours. That is football, different managers have different opinions.”
Now Lyons wants to progress in United’s set-up. “Since coming home from England part-time suited me with getting my college, getting back into UCC,” Lyons says. “I just think it was time to move on to get back into that full-time environment. It is only going to bring you on further and further as a player, so I 'm delighted to be back full-time under John.”
**Listen to the full interview with Charlie Lyons on this week’s ‘Cian on Sport’ podcast available on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.