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A new book to be published this November entitled ‘Off-Centre Circle’

chronicles the journey of a young soccer obsessive from

kicking a stuffed sock in his hallway as a toddler right through to

togging out for an Over33 summer soccer league this past summer.

Every weekend thousands of Irish men, women and children up and down

the country take to their local pitches to compete in junior soccer

league competitions. You won't find any Arab Sheiks offering millions

of euro in investment here or post-match interviews with satellite

television stations. In most instances you will be lucky to find

changing rooms or even adequate shower facilities. Yet for ninety

minutes every Saturday or Sunday Irish amateur soccer league players

cross that white line and give it their all as if it was as important

as an English Premier League fixture and their very lives depended on


Where does a love affair with the game of soccer begin? What possesses

an individual to play through the pain barrier, the years of knocks

and injuries for absolutely no financial gain? Why go through weekend

after weekend of dodgy refereeing decisions, deplorable weather and

being embarrassed by opponents half your age? Pride, passion and

downright obsession, that’s why.

This soon to be released book offers an insight into the life of a

junior soccer player with recollections and memories through the eyes

of the author who has trained, played, obsessed, written about and

cried over his beloved sport. The author recounts his life-long

fascination with the game from childhood through teenage years

culminating in the story of his local club's rise to glory in the West

Cork Soccer League.

Born and raised in Cork the author recounts early memories of watching

Match of the Day, playing Subbuteo, reading Roy of the Rovers comics

and travelling to support his beloved Cork City in the Shed end of

Turner’s Cross, chanting and singing with the home fans.

The book also covers the author’s early years playing Under-18 soccer,

breaking into the local junior team for the first time and then

fainting. Playing matches on the side of mountains with cow dung

dotted around the pitch, going toe-to-toe with Vinny Jones on the Late

Late Show and helping his local club rise from the bottom tier of the

West Cork League to eventual Beamish Cup glory.

Anyone who has ever laced a pair of boots on the side of the road and

marched on to a muddy pitch (after a night on the beer) to represent

their local soccer club will forge an immediate connection with the

stories and characters detailed in the book.

Anyone who has ever wondered what possesses a junior / amateur soccer

player to continue playing well past their sell-by date will find out

the reasons why.

You have read all the various soccer titles telling you stuff you

already know but this new book gives you a look at something



Ger McCarthy is a lifelong soccer obsessive and regular contributor on

local and international soccer to the Evening Echo, Southern Star and

West Cork People newspapers as well as the award winning Cork City FC

match day programme 'City Edition'.

Based on the urgings of fellow players, referees, supporters, doctors

and complete strangers, he finally announced his retirement from

active playing duties following a junior soccer career that spanned

well over a decade.

The 2009 West Cork League junior soccer campaign represented his fifth

consecutive year of coming out of retirement. During the course of

completing his book the author sustained a dislocated shoulder, a torn

muscle tendon as well as two dislocated and fractured fingers. He

can’t wait for the new season to start.