Even without taking the current global situation into consideration, the past 12 months has been a real roller coaster of emotions for Darren Cole.
At the start of the 2019 season the Scottish defender wasn’t sure where his future at club level lay, however City’s new boss Declan Devine convinced him that he still had a major role at the Brandywell.
Cole’s versatility saw him deployed across the back four at various stages last season including an impressive spell at right back just when his manager needed it.
Disaster struck at the end of August however with a ruptured ACL sustained in training as City prepared to take on Waterford at the RSC.
With his contract due to expire in November, Darren’s future again looked uncertain, however the City management stood by their player.
At the end of last month, partner Orlaith gave birth to daughter Cría and despite the coronavirus situation putting a dampener on sport, things are once again looking up.
The 28-year old says that there’s now a new focus in his life and he’s working hard to give himself the best chance of being ready when football returns to the League of Ireland.
“It’s been exciting times since the wee one, Cría, has arrived. All the other boys with kids on the team kept telling me it was the most amazing feeling to be a dad and it really is.”
“She’s a wee bundle of joy and although barely anyone has seen her with all of this madness, it’s been nice spending time at home just the three of us. She’s no bother at all just like her da!”
“The club have been great with me through the lockdown. They provided me with a spin bike, weights and other items to keep my fitness and strength levels up and to be able to continue the programme Mickey (Hegarty) provided.”
“I have been able to keep my day well structured, which is good. In between nappy changing and bottle feeds I do an online spin class on YouTube as well as the programme for my knee.”
“Mickey has been top class; he’s been in touch almost every day checking up on the progress of my knee and keeping me right.”
“The injury is getting much better now and I just need the go ahead from Mickey when he thinks it’s right for me to run again. I had a check up during lockdown and everyone is happy with how it’s healed and progressing, which is good.”
“I just have to see how the knee feels when I do start running on it but I’m staying positive that I’m on track.”
“I cannot wait to get back on the pitch. I know the rest of the boys have been itching to get back since the league was postponed but it’s been a much longer wait for me.”
“For the last eight months I’ve been doing everything exactly as instructed so that I can get back playing as soon as I can.”
“Ironically the injury happened the same day as Orlaith’s first doctors appointment with the pregnancy. Add that to a global pandemic and my perspective on things have changed!”
“I’ve always loved playing for Derry and indeed living here but I want us to succeed more than ever now. I want the people here to have something to celebrate and I want to make my daughter proud.”
No doubt that will be music to the ears of all Derry City fans, Darren!