'Stuff of dreams': Cork pupils thrilled as soccer star pops by for a kickaround

'Stuff of dreams': Cork pupils thrilled as soccer star pops by for a kickaround

Conor Hourihane pictured with some of the fifth and sixth class pupils from Scoil Phádraig Naofa. The Ireland international joined the pupils for a game of soccer on Wednesday afternoon.

“IT was the stuff of dreams for the students to play with a professional soccer player’ said Méabh Hennessey the principal of Bandon primary school Scoil Phádraig Naofa after Conor Hourihane joined their pupils for a soccer game on Wednesday afternoon.

The Republic of Ireland senior player is currently home on holidays in his native Bandon, following a gruelling domestic and international campaign. 

The Aston Villa player (currently on loan to Swansea) happened to be passing through the town on Wednesday afternoon when he spotted his friend and teacher Richard O’Regan playing soccer with the fifth and sixth class boys from Scoil Phádraig Naofa in the Town Park pitch.

Conor Hourihane pictured with some of the fifth and sixth class pupils from Scoil Phádraig Naofa. The Ireland international joined the pupils for a game of soccer on Wednesday afternoon.
Conor Hourihane pictured with some of the fifth and sixth class pupils from Scoil Phádraig Naofa. The Ireland international joined the pupils for a game of soccer on Wednesday afternoon.

The school principal said the students had a wonderful time playing soccer with their ‘idol’. 

“Conor was passing the Town Park and spotted Richard O’Regan, a teacher in the school playing soccer with the pupils. He popped in to say hello to the students. Conor then jumped in goal and played a game of soccer with them. The students just had a wonderful time,” she said.

Good friend to the local school

Ms Hennessy said that the Bandon soccer star has been a ‘wonderful’ friend to Scoil Phádraig Naofa down through the years. 

“Conor has been a wonderful friend to our school. He has done so many different things to help our students. He has sent us virtual videos for graduations. 

"He has been extremely kind to the children in our school. Despite all his success, he has never forgotten Bandon. He has reached out on different occasions when he didn’t need to.

“He is so down to earth. We are all so proud of him. He is a wonderful role model for our boys. They look up to him and they will never forget the moment they had a kick around with a soccer star,” she added.

Ms Hennessy said the fifth and sixth-class pupils were ‘buzzing’ after soccer game with the Irish international.

 “They were absolutely delighted. It was so fortunate that he was passing the soccer pitch at the same time they were there. The pupils were playing away and enjoying themselves when they were suddenly joined by a Premier League player. He stayed a long time with them. 

"The pupils were buzzing and they went home on a high. They were thrilled. It was an experience they will never forget.” 

As the pupils are nearing the end of the school year, they are currently engaging in a series of school tours and activity days. Ms Hennessy said Conor emphasised the importance of staying active to the awestruck students. “We are always doing our best to get the students active as much as possible. We are very fortunate to be so close to the Town Park pitch and we are very grateful to get the use of it every so often.

“To have a soccer star in our local community is unreal. It is lovely he took the time to play soccer with the pupils. He also had a chat with them after their game. He told the students to keep going and follow their dreams,” she added.

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