Bringing Dublin closer (but not too close, like).Steven Beattie has enjoyed plenty of success on the pitch since he was signed by John Caulfield in 2015, yet eroding that chip on the collective Corkonian shoulder in this instance might be his most impressive achievement. Cork City’s Steven Beattie gestures to Dundalk fans after scoring a penalty in the 2017 FAI Cup final shootout. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHOHe may not be the biggest star in the current Cork City squad, but few players have endeared themselves to the regulars at Turner’s Cross as successfully as the 29-year-old from Skerries in North County Dublin.He completed a rite of passage after the FAI Cup final in November by taking a jab at “the Dublin media” — a requirement for any Cork City cult hero. But the reality is that fans had already embraced him as one of their own before he converted his penalty in the shootout victory against Dundalk, which helped City to seal their first ever double.According to Beattie, there’s no secret formula to charming the locals on Leeside, even if one happens to hail from The Pale. An honest approach, both on and off the pitch, is the key… although making an important contribution to the most successful year in the club’s history hasn’t done him any harm either.“It was a bit ironic for a fella with a Dublin accent smashing the Dublin media,” he laughs. “Being a Dub coming down here, I understood that pressure when I came in. I just wear my heart on my sleeve, that’s all there is to it.“I suppose I’d like to think I can play a bit as well. I’m probably playing the best football of my career at the moment. With the fans, even if you’re an average player, once they know you’re giving your all then they’ll take to you. But it’s a two-way street. If they’re feeding off me, I’m feeding off them. It’s a good relationship.“Long may it continue because I love it down here. I rarely go back to Dublin, to be honest, even though I’m very close to my family. They come down to all the games. Cork is a great spot and I’m delighted that people here have embraced me. John [Caulfield] actually tried to sign me a few times before so my only regret is that I didn’t come here sooner.” Beattie with the FAI Cup at the Aviva Stadium last November. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHOAs well as being eager to get involved with Cork City’s work in the community, Beattie hasn’t shied away from interacting with supporters. Back in October, a couple of lucky young fans took home the boots he wore while playing his part in the club’s first Premier Division title triumph in 12 years.“Giving away a few pairs of boots is nothing to me — they’re just boots — but for a kid who’s only 11 or 12 it could mean the world to them,” says Beattie, who joined City from Sligo Rovers during the 2015 season.“The reality down here is that we’re idols for these kids. You can’t forget that. You see it on TV sometimes with Premier League players – kids with their hands out and they just walk by them. That could put a young lad off football. I just picture myself when I was their age and how I’d feel in that situation.”He adds: “When it comes to how you treat the fans in general, you could be applauding them and all that but then acting like a prick off the pitch. If you do that — especially down in Cork where everyone knows you — you’ll quickly get found out. If you’re a fraud and it’s only a front for the cameras, people will see through it.“Be yourself — that’s my approach. I’ve just been me, Steven Beattie, the whole time. I was always a small fella growing up so I had to have an extra bit of hunger and heart. A lot of people don’t like me on the pitch but I’m probably not a bad fella off it.“I love doing things in the community in Cork, like bringing the trophy up to special needs kids in Midleton on Saturday week and doing a bit of training with them. This is a community club so that’s what it’s all about. I’ve probably bought into that.“It’s great being a fans’ favourite, but you have to perform first and foremost. It’s a short career. I don’t want to be a fans’ favourite who sits on the bench. I want to be playing every week.”@steven5beattie @CorkCityFC rollercoaster of emotions last night the surprise Harry got getting your boots #legend #CCFC84 #memoriesforlife pic.twitter.com/ZQabquqvxL— Paudie (@Paudie78) October 28, 2017Great to see our number 1 fan Aoife back in her City gear after a few weeks in hospital. See you in Turners Cross soon! pic.twitter.com/KSIRl6MMIn— Steven Beattie (@steven5beattie) February 2, 2018In that regard, Beattie has perhaps been a victim of his own versatility. Generally regarded as a striker or right-winger when he first arrived in Cork, he’s now operating mostly as a tenacious right-back with a penchant for marauding jaunts into the opposing half. His competence in several positions also means he’s often an ideal option to have on the bench.“If John asked me to play in goal, I would,” says Beattie, who insists he won’t be giving up City’s number 10 shirt in spite of his rebirth as a defender. “I’m still learning right-back in terms of my positional sense because my instinct is always to go forward, but I’ve been working a lot on it.“Playing alongside Alan Bennett is a luxury in that sense. He talks me through it. The guy is a Rolls Royce. I wouldn’t be half the player at right-back if it wasn’t for him. I’m happy as a right-back at the moment, which is something I never thought I’d say.”A turning point for Beattie came when City faced Genk in the Europa League in the summer of 2016. With Leon Bailey wreaking havoc on the left wing for the Belgian side at Michael McSweeney’s expense, John Caulfield made a change at half-time. Beattie was instead tasked with nullifying the impact of the exciting Jamaican teenager.Some desperate — and rather unusual — measures were needed to shackle a player who made a €15 million move to Bayer Leverkusen six months later, Beattie explains.“A few people would know what I had to do to try and keep him quiet,” Beattie says when recalling his joust with Bailey, who’s currently on the radar of the likes of Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Liverpool, according to reports. Beattie paying close attention to Leon Bailey. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO“One of my fingers might have went somewhere it shouldn’t have. The poor lad didn’t know what to say. I just said to him, ‘Look, I’m terrible at football, but I’m an animal’, so he must have been thinking I was a psychopath.“He actually should have been sent off because he hit me with an elbow. I remember saying to him after the game: ‘You’re probably the best talent I’ve ever played against, you’re going to get lads like me trying to get a reaction from you throughout your career, but you can’t react like you did by throwing an elbow’. So yeah, that was the start of me as a right-back in Cork.”Turning the clock back seven years, it was due to his exploits as a striker that Beattie found himself in the Major League Soccer Draft. Despite having a contract offer from Pat Fenlon at Shelbourne when he was 18, he opted for a move to the USA in order to further his education.While studying for a degree in Public Relations and Marketing, Beattie’s goals helped North Kentucky University to win the NCAA Division II National Championship. He subsequently featured in the MLS Draft ahead of the 2011 season, although it didn’t quite go according to plan.“I had an American agent at the time,” he explains. “He rang me and said LA Galaxy were going to take me as the 18th pick in the Supplemental Draft. David Beckham and Robbie Keane were there at the time, two of my idols growing up, so I was ecstatic.“Even if I went down there for a few days and got released, at least I could say I played alongside the two boys. But then it came to the 13th pick and Toronto took me instead. I was delighted to be drafted but it would have been unbelievable to rub shoulders with Beckham and Keane.“What happened then with Toronto was there was a change of manager at that point — it was Aron Winter [former Ajax, Inter and Dutch international midfielder]. It was a disaster. He didn’t know anything about me, I wasn’t even training with the first-team, so five days later I was let go.” Beattie celebrates with Kieran Sadlier as City claimed the President’s Cup against Dundalk on Sunday. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHOBeattie’s next move was also derailed. Two days after signing for Puerto Rico Islanders — “I was the palest, whitest man in the Caribbean” — in the NASL, the second tier of US football, he tore his anterior cruciate knee ligament and spent 10 months on the sidelines.After a spell playing in Iceland, Beattie returned to Ireland and spent the 2014 season with Bohemians. He signed for Sligo Rovers in 2015 but was on the move again that July when he made the switch to Cork. A contract extension was signed back in November to keep him down south for 2018, despite interest from the US and elsewhere in the League of Ireland.“I said I wouldn’t play for any other team in the country again and I stand by that,” Beattie says. “[Shamrock] Rovers and a few other teams were onto me but I wouldn’t even meet them. I genuinely had no interest. I spoke to two teams in America after the FAI Cup final, but what’s going on down here at the moment is something I just couldn’t give up. I can’t see myself leaving here any time soon.”Cork City’s defence of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title begins away to St Patrick’s Athletic tomorrow night. Beattie hopes the game at Richmond Park will represent the first step on the road to becoming the only team in the club’s 34-year history to win back-to-back titles.“The motivation is to get that same feeling that we had at the final whistle last season when we wrapped up the league against Derry. Once you get a taste of success, you just want more and more,” he says.“After winning the league and the cup, I could have said ‘I’ve won the medals now’ and then headed off to America. But you want to challenge yourself. Can we replicate it? Can we better it? That’s where the motivation in our dressing room is coming from now.“The double is gone. It was brilliant, but it’s history. There’s new faces in the squad and the medals have been put away in a cupboard somewhere. Improving on last year will be tough, but that’s what we’re working towards now. That’s what we have to achieve.“The thought of bringing more success to Cork is driving us on again. We’re ready for it.”‘The history of Cork suggests it’s difficult to do’ – City aiming to bridge 67-year gapNew arrivals to the League of Ireland worth keeping an eye out for this season 11 Comments Short URL Feb 15th 2018, 7:31 PM Thursday 15 Feb 2018, 9:45 PM By Paul Dollery 46,555 Views Share567 Tweet Email1 https://the42.ie/3852478 Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article THERE’S A SLOGAN on a bus company’s billboard advertisement on the Lower Glanmire Road in Cork which encapsulates how a sizeable proportion of the locals feel about Ireland’s capital city and its inhabitants. ‘A lot of people don’t like me on the pitch but I’m probably not a bad fella off it’ Double winner Steven Beattie has defied his Dublin roots to become a cult hero to fans in Cork.