Jack Tuite: “Our goal is to go up, automatically or through the Playoffs”
Article by Andrew Dempsey - @AndrewDempsey98
Despite much optimism around Cabinteely during the 2018 off-season, it was a frustrating year at the helm for Pat Devlin and co. at Stradbrook. A 7th place finish was a punishing result for Cabo, who, on their day, were a match for any side in the division.
Stradbrook was a difficult place to go to for many of the ‘so-called’ top sides of last year’s First Division with Longford Town, Drogheda United, Shelbourne and even champions UCD all falling to defeats against the South Dubliners. While “Cabo” often flattered to deceive in 2018, Pat Devlin and his backroom team will be encouraged to have seen plenty of his sides young talent emerge during the previous campaign, none more so than former Derby County Youth Academy star, Jack Tuite.
The 21-year-old defender recently caught up with BetweenTheStripes.ie reporter Andrew Dempsey to discuss his breakthrough 2018 campaign, which resulted in the DIT student receiving Cabinteely’s Player of the Year Award come the season’s end.
Speaking on the year gone by, Tuite admits that he was delighted with his form in 2018 as it was his first real consistent year of games in a senior environment.
“It’s the first season I’ve had of playing regular football since I came back playing from England. I found myself playing my way into some good form every week and it was obviously nice to get the Player of the Year Award at Cabinteely.”
However, the son of current League of Ireland referee Paul Tuite noted that he would have preferred last year to have been a more successful one for his teammates at the Stradbrook Road venue.
“It’s a team game and if the team does well we’ll all do well, so we want to be pushing on for promotion this year at Cabinteely. It’s tough when you look at the league table and seeing we came 7th after beating the ‘so-called’ bigger sides at home. We beat UCD, Drogheda, Shelbourne and Longford but I think it was consistency that killed us in the end.”
The former Cherry Orchard schoolboy soon added;
“We maybe took our eye off the ball in the ‘so-called’ lesser games but they’re the games that are toughest. I think every team in the First Division are sort of similar to each other, so you just can’t take your eye off it at any stage because you’ll drop points, especially when you’re looking to get into the Playoff spots.”
Prior to his stint at Cabinteely, the Dublin native had two stints at Shelbourne and Athlone Town. Tuite joined Athlone in 2015 following his return home from England.
Before joining the Blue and Black of the Midlands, the then 19-year-old revealed that he turned down some Premier Division sides in the hope of gaining senior first-team experience at Lissywoolen.
“I joined Athlone looking for senior football. I had a good few offers from a few Premier Division clubs, but I wanted to play in a first-team and I thought I could do that in the First Division, which I did. Maybe I should’ve went to other teams, but I have no regrets.”
After his stint in the Midlands, the current Cabinteely star joined Shelbourne. After settling in well at Tolka Park initially, Tuite soon found himself lacking game time with the “Reds”, which eventually resulted in the Dubliner leaving the seven-time FAI Cup winners in 2017.
“When I first signed for Shels, I played a good bit and then it never really happened from there. I really enjoyed my time at Shels, it had a professional atmosphere around the place. For the first couple of games I was in and then I got sent-off against UCD. I was banned for three games and I wasn’t getting back into the team. If I was, it was only the odd game here and there, so it came to the end of the year and I said, I wanted to get playing week in, week out and I thought it was a no brainer really to really kick-start my career at Cabinteely.”
With much experience in the First Division, the combative centre-back has witnessed much progression in the second tier and is expecting the spectacle to improve once more as the 2019 campaign approaches.
“I think the First Division has got better year on year and there’s far more interest in it now. People are taking it seriously. There’s a good few First Division sides showing they can battle against Premier Division sides as we saw last year in the cup. It’s definitely getting better and we’ll see that next year once more.”
When asked on how he sees the 2019 First Division playing out, Pat Devlin’s key defensive option noted that he predicts it to be a very tightly contested affair.
“It’s going to be very tight. I think Shels have put a lot of good resources and players into the fold, as have Bray so I think it’s going to be tough.”
However, Tuite is not ruling his sides chances out at all just yet, firing warning shots to the rest of the division.
“For us at Cabo, it’s all about getting promoted. That’s why I’m at Cabo. They’re an ambitious club and they’re going in the right direction. We’ve probably added that little bit more experience required to do well this year.
“Also, the lads that came into the team last year have a good year under their belts now, so that should help us out a bit. Our goal is to go up, automatically or through the Playoffs.”