Team: Under 15s
Position: Centre midfield/left back
Height: 5’ 9”
Previous clubs: St Kevin’s Boys, Aisling Annacotty (Limerick)
Tell us John where exactly you come from? I am from Castletroy in Limerick, in the suburbs of the city.
How long are you playing for Rovers? I am playing for Rovers a year and nine months, since January 2018. My first game was a friendly against Corduff Under 15s in Roadstone.
How did you do that day of your first game? I did well that day and I scored too; it was good to get a goal on my debut.
How did you come about to play for Rovers? I was approached by them after a tournament.
What’s your normal position? At the moment it’s left back; I have played there for my country as well.
You haven’t always played there though have you? When I came to Rovers I played as an attacking number 8. In the summer of 2018 the Ireland Under 15 manager Jason Donohue spoke to Rovers Academy Director Shane Robinson and said he thought that I could be a good left back. Shane worked with me on the position and I made the Irish squad as a full back. Thanks also to Glenda Curtis and her family who let me stay with them while I was in Dublin at that time. I did well playing at left back with Ireland and I have continued playing there sometimes with Rovers.
What school do you attend? I am in Castletroy College. I’m in Transition Year. I did my Junior Cert in June.
Do you model yourself on any particular player? Centre mid I have always admired Kevin DeBruyne; at left back Andy Robertson.
How many appearances have you made for Ireland? 11 including Under 15 and Under 16.
What was your first game for Ireland? It was against Poland Under 15s in Poland.
What are the countries you have travelled to with the Ireland squads? Poland, Spain, Cyprus, Czech Republic and England. I have also been to Finland with Rovers.
What’s it like for a young lad of your age to travel away as part of an Ireland squad? It’s a really good experience. I knew most of the lads before I went away for the first time so it was easy enough to settle in. It’s good to get the opportunity to go away and it’s important to enjoy it. There are many kids around Ireland that would wish they were in my place so I’m grateful for it.
Do you think you learn from playing against foreign opposition? You do, they are the best of the best in their country so you learn every time you play; you pick the key points from each game as to where you need to improve and bring it into the next one.
What has the experience of playing in the FAI Under 15 League been like for you this year? It’s been incredible really; it’s been great to have the opportunity to play for such a big club as Shamrock Rovers. The league is a higher standard; I wish it had started younger, it’s class. I had always expected it to be very competitive.
How much do you think you personally have developed this year? I think I have developed a lot, especially at left back. I just need to keep working hard and keep on improving.
Your team had a super win against Dundalk in the league semi-final; what was the mood in the camp following that victory? We were delighted. As our coaches said we just need to keep the momentum going. We plan to do that and keep on working hard for the final.
How do you travel for training and games? My dad. I don’t know what I would do without him. Sometimes if he is unavailable I would get the bus during school holidays but mostly it’s by car.
What bus would you get? The green bus, the Dublin coach, that drops me off at the Red Cow and I get collected there by a parent or by Shane (Robinson). I get the bus back home again from the Red Cow.
Then you have to get up for school in the morning. How do you do it? Just working hard and dedication. As well, we always drive to training during the school year to make sure I get home as early as possible. I do all my gym, individual fitness and ball work in Limerick.
Team: Under 19s
Previous club: UCD
Position: I would say I am an attacking midfielder. I played a more defensive role at the start of the year but I prefer the attacking role and I am playing there now.
Describe yourself as a footballer: I am a player who likes to attack and defend as well. I like to run and pass the ball around. I like to take on opponents 1 v 1 but I don’t mind defending, every player has to do that.
Describe yourself off the pitch: I’m a relaxed person. I like to spend time with family and friends, watch TV and play a bit of football with my friends during the off season.
What’s your earliest memory of football? I went to see Rovers play Real Madrid in 2009. That would be my earliest memory of going to a big match. It was a big deal at the time and my dad organised the tickets for him, me and my brother Daniel to go. That was my first time to see Shamrock Rovers.
What was your own first game for Shamrock Rovers? I played in a pre-season friendly this year for the Under 19s against Athlone Town’s first team. We won 3-2.
Whereabouts are you from? I’m from Knocklyon. I have always lived there.
What are you currently doing education-wise? I have just finished school at St. Colmcille’s in Knocklyon. I am going to college in September to study an Arts Degree in Spanish and Business.
What kind of music are you into? A bit of everything really. My favourite is rap; I’d listen to it before games or on the bus travelling to away games. I don’t have a favourite artist as such but I like Post Malone; I like to listen to him.
What do you like most about playing for Shamrock Rovers? Being around the best players in the country every week and for every game. Rovers are the biggest club in the country; it’s great to be a part of it. I feel I am lucky to be a part of it.
What’s your favourite meal? Chicken curry
Who do you think is the best player from another club that you have come across in the Under 19 league? I haven’t seen much except when I play against them but one I would say is Colm Whelan, the striker with Waterford. I saw him playing in Dublin earlier this year and I thought he looked good.
Finally Darragh, your team have qualified for the final of the Enda McGuill Cup. What are your thoughts on that? I am really looking forward to it. We will be playing against Bohs in the final. I haven’t played in many finals before so I hope to get the opportunity to play in this one. Playing against Bohs you couldn’t really ask for more. It’s great to be involved.