Bishopstown's John Egan has been a star for every team he played with

Bishopstown's John Egan has been a star for every team he played with
Mohamed Salah of Liverpool shoots as John Egan of Sheffield United attempts to block during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Sheffield United at Anfield . (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

HE has gone from Bishopstown to Bramall Lane, but could Cork's John Egan be on his way to the UEFA Champions League?

One look at the current English Premier League table suggests it is something that could still be achieved.

Regardless of where they finish in the league from here, Egan has played a central role in what has been a phenomenal campaign for Sheffield United on their return to the top flight.

The Blades are still in the hunt for the European places under one of the main contenders for the manager of the season accolade in Chris Wilder.

27 year old Egan has proven that he can hold his own at the top flight level. His career is one of sheer persistence paying off, now a key part in the Sheffield United defence.

Teacher and player Brian Cuthbert getting the A OK from young John Egan, son of trainer John Egan at Colaiste An Spioraid Naoimh, Bishopstown, in anticipation of this weekend's against Nemo.Picture: Richard Mills.
Teacher and player Brian Cuthbert getting the A OK from young John Egan, son of trainer John Egan at Colaiste An Spioraid Naoimh, Bishopstown, in anticipation of this weekend's against Nemo.Picture: Richard Mills.

Before joining the Blades, Egan spent a number of campaigns at Gillingham(League One) and Brentford(Championship), along with stints at Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Southend and Bradford City.

The pattern following his career becomes clear. Egan climbed the footballing ladder, right to the top and the English Premier League, showcasing his hard work and persistence in the process.

That footballing journey started here on Leeside, where he played his schoolboy football with Greenwood, with Pat Holland coaching him from U7 to U10.

This reporter went to the Deanrock Bar in Togher to meet one of Egan's coaches at Greenwood in Ger McGreevy and club chairman Kieran McCoy.

Ger McGreevy, Neale Horgan, Cork City FC; Presents Irish under 15 International John Egan a Special Club Award for his achievements with Pat Egan at the Greenwood FC Club awards in the Deanrock bar Togher /Pic: Bryan Keane, Digipix-Ireland /GREENWOOD F.C. 07
Ger McGreevy, Neale Horgan, Cork City FC; Presents Irish under 15 International John Egan a Special Club Award for his achievements with Pat Egan at the Greenwood FC Club awards in the Deanrock bar Togher /Pic: Bryan Keane, Digipix-Ireland /GREENWOOD F.C. 07

“John stood out like a sore thumb, he was unreal. ” McGreevy reflects, adding that Egan was in demand from a number of clubs from an young age.

“I remember at half time I would say to John what do you think, this was at 14/15 years of age, because he could read the game so well.

“At one U13 match against Wilton in the cup, we got a free outside the box and I put Eoin(McGreevy) into the wall. I said to John slip it down the side to Eoin, but John just stood back and banged it into the top corner.

“I was like just as well you don’t listen to me.” 

One of the highlights of Egan’s time with Greenwood was unquestionably the U16 National Cup success at Turner's Cross back in 2009.

Egan was central for Greenwood, who also had the current Cork hurler Damien Cahalane in their team.

Greenwood defeated a Salthill side which contained a future Ireland senior international in Daryl Horgan.

“I ran on with the water and John came over to me. He said put Kyle Lynch on Daryl Horgan(Salthill Devon), who was their standout player. Kyle didn’t give him a ball.

“It was unbelievable that we won the National Cup. There was eight lads on that team from the Togher area.” 

Liam McGroarty, FAI presents John Egan, Greenwood with the man of the match award at the the Pat Hennessy memorial cup under 14 held at Rockmount / /Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Liam McGroarty, FAI presents John Egan, Greenwood with the man of the match award at the the Pat Hennessy memorial cup under 14 held at Rockmount / /Picture: Eddie O'Hare

 Through our chat, it becomes clear Egan still holds Greenwood close to him.

“John is a great young fella. It never got to his head," McCoy describes.

“As soon as he is over, he will send a text asking is there any Greenwood games on at the weekend. The young fellas love seeing him.

“He ran onto the pitch one night. He was watching a game in the national cup a few years ago (Greenwood U17s) and ran on jumping on top of the young fella who got the winner.” 

The son of a Kerry GAA great, Egan himself played Gaelic Football and Hurling for Bishopstown GAA club.

Recalling Egan, Bishopstown GAA PRO Diarmuid Vaughan said:

“From a Bishopstown point of view, we got to know him at a very young age.

“His father (John Egan Snr) managed us to our first senior county final in 2002. So John would have very much been up at every training session as a young fella.

“He would have been the star player born in 92. He would have been in a good team in both hurling and football the whole way up.

“Then when he was 15, he was obviously a prominent soccer player. After he played Kennedy Cup, clubs across the water came looking at him.

“So he went over and back on trials, but he actually stayed playing with us. He played in the County Minor Semi Final against Carrigaline in 2008.

Former Kerry great John Egan and Family with friends at The Lough Cork. Picture by Des Barry 
Former Kerry great John Egan and Family with friends at The Lough Cork. Picture by Des Barry 

“That was a game we lost by a point, where he missed a penalty in the last minute. He’s told that on a regular basis,” joked Vaughan.

Although Egan is now currently plying his trade and acquitting himself very well at such a high level in soccer for club and country, it is clear from my chat with Vaughan the place he and family are held in out in Bishopstown GAA.

“I suppose the biggest thing for us is when you go up to the Bishopstown GAA club on a Saturday morning, you see young kids wearing a Sheffield United jersey with Egan on the back and the Irish jersey with Egan on the back.

“From a Bishopstown point of view, he has been excellent. In the summer time when he is off, his presence around the club, you would see him at a lot of our Senior League games and Championship games throughout the summer months.

“The Egan’s are steeped in our club. His father was and is a great man in our club, coaching us to our first Senior final in 2002.

“Even though they would be a Kerry family, they are very much a Bishopstown family as well.

Spriod Naoimh, John Egan puts the boot in under Chriost Ri, Daithi Mac Cuibreith in the Sciath na Scoil at Pairc Ui Rinn.Pic: Gavin Browne
Spriod Naoimh, John Egan puts the boot in under Chriost Ri, Daithi Mac Cuibreith in the Sciath na Scoil at Pairc Ui Rinn.Pic: Gavin Browne

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