Sometimes dreams do come true! That was the feeling at Dunderrow National School outside Kinsale when football hero Roy Keane dropped by to everyone's surprise.
The unexpected visit came as an early Christmas present for star-struck pupils, in particular the 70-plus children in fifth and sixth class who enjoyed an hour in the company of one of the country's most famous sporting legends.
The former Man United and Ireland captain, who went on to become assistant manager of the Irish team, turned up at the school in response to a letter penned by fifth class pupil Noah Mehigan, who said he would love to meet his football hero.
Noah’s letter was just one of many letters penned by children in fifth class who wrote to their heroes, some of whom included children’s author David Walliams and legendary Mayo footballer, Cora Staunton.
On Friday morning, the school and Noah were “blown away” when Mr Keane popped in to speak to the children in an hour-long question and answer session that was both engaging and inspiring.
The surprise topped off a festive week on a high note for both staff and pupils.
Earlier this week, the school organised a fundraiser for the RNLI, recorded Christmas concerts, and Santa had also paid a visit on a fire engine but Keano's visit put the “icing on the Christmas cake”, school principal Triona Hannon said.
“He arrived at around 11am and took us completely by surprise. We had a Q&A with him and he was very gracious and spent lots of time answering questions,” she said.
The school principal said the football legend spoke about his time playing with Rockmount, Cobh Ramblers, Nottingham Forrest, and Man United as part of his career.
The boy behind the letter, Noah, was left speechless, Ms Hannon said: “Noah couldn’t believe that his hero had turned up and was absolutely blown away.”
The sporting legend also popped into third and fourth class for a quick hello before leaving for the UK, where he will return to our TV screens over the weekend as a football pundit on Sky Sports.
The surprise visit and the time taken by the “very unassuming” sports star gave everyone a lift, Ms Hannon said: "It’s been a week that keeps on giving. We’ve had a great week. This is certainly the climax that we wouldn’t have expected and it is really the icing on the Christmas cake”.
“We couldn’t be in a better place. Every staff member and child would say today there’s nowhere else that they would rather be," she added.