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Monday 11 December 2017

'It was a different level' - former Cork star Gearóid Morrissey on making his debut at Old Trafford

BIG STAGE: Gearóid Morrissey (l) replaces his Cambridge United team-mate Luke Chadwick during the FA Cup fourth round replay against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
BIG STAGE: Gearóid Morrissey (l) replaces his Cambridge United team-mate Luke Chadwick during the FA Cup fourth round replay against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

CAMBRIDGE United’s manager has such a problem in pronouncing the first name of recent signing Gearóid Morrissey that the former Cork City man is just called ‘G’.

But following his debut in front of 74,000 people at Old Trafford on Tuesday night, Morrissey hopes that more people will take note of his name as he hopes to make the grade in his second spell in the English game.

Morrissey, 23, joined Cambridge from Cork City late last year but he had to wait until this week for his debut with the League Two side, the midfielder introduced early in the first half of a 3-0 loss for his side away to Manchester United.

“It’s a different level to anything I’ve experienced before. There’s a handful of places like that you can play — the likes of the Bernabeu and Anfield — but I think Old Trafford is in its own league,” said Morrissey, still on a high from the Old Trafford appearance.

“It’s a bit surreal at the moment but I’m still buzzing off it.  The manager said to me before the game that he was thinking about starting me and was asking about how I felt fitness wise because I’ve had a groin injury for the past two and a half weeks.

“I’ve only had two training sessions so I was happy enough to start on the bench to be honest. After 40 minutes he told me to warm up and then I came on shortly after half-time,” added the Cork native, who previously had a spell in England, with Blackburn Rovers, before he opted to come home at 18 and rebuild his career with Cork City.

“It’s back to reality now, back to the grind. It was a great experience to play Manchester United and it just goes to show what you can achieve over here if you do things right and work hard.

“It is a great source of motivation because you can see could have if you are prepared to do everything to get it.

“We have to use our performances against United as a confidence builder to get results,” added Morrissey, a key figure for Cork City last season as they finished second in the Premier Division and secured a return to European football for next season.

Morrissey had hoped to swap shirts with Wayne Rooney on Tuesday but had to make do with one of Rooney’s team-mates. “I asked him (Rooney) but he said he was after promising it to another of the lads already, so I turned around and Smalling was there so I asked him and he said no problem,” says Morrissey.

The 23-year-old was one of two signings from the SSE Airtricity League made by Cambridge over the winter, with Rory Gaffney also arriving, from Limerick FC, and while Gaffney is still awaiting his debut, the club have high hopes for him as well.

“G (Morrissey) is probably further forward than Rory in terms of fitness levels and I was tempted to start him. I think he’s a nice footballer and I’m looking forward to what he will bring the football club. I know Rory will also score goals when he is fit,” said Cambridge boss Richard Money.

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