WINNING a Munster title side by side was the highlight of the O’Reilly’s sporting careers to date.
The talented brothers, Christopher and Timmy O’Reilly from Mahon, are key players for Douglas Community School, who recently captured the Munster title in soccer with a win over Rochestown College. They now await an All-Ireland final as they face Letterkenny side St Eunan’s.
They are described by their teacher and coach Kevin Ronayne as ‘exceptional athletes’, and he believes these brothers have everything it takes.
“The O’Reillys epitomise everything we believe in sport-wise at DCS,” said Ronayne.
“They simply are sensational athletes. They have a relentless drive and will to win. They are so courageous on the pitch and you can see they have been brilliantly coached by their dad Pa Murphy and Kieran O’Reilly and the other coaches in Ringmahon.
“Their understanding of the game is top class, and they will also make superb coaches when they do coach. Timmy has an incredible engine on him, he can play anywhere, right full, left full, centre-mid, this year he has played on the right for us.
“Honestly I’d love to have a tracker on him to see the distances he has covered in games. He has a serious delivery of a ball and a keen eye for a goal. He is a real leader as well.
“Chris is some talent, this boy has the greatest first touch I’ve ever seen in DCS. When you think of the names we have had in the school that is some statement.
“He scored in every single round of the Munster Senior Cup success. He was pivotal in every game and the goal he got down in Thurles was a replica of Gareth Bale’s goal in the Copa del Rey v Barcelona a few years ago. He can play anywhere as well which again is testament to the coaching he received at Ringmahon.”
Ronayne argues he’s ready for first-team League of Ireland football, despite his lack of height.
“The greatest players in the world are all small. Plus the boy never loses out in a physical battle, he can out jump any taller defender and his football brain makes it look like he is playing the game in slow motion.
"I have often said that players like, Chris and Timmy and Destiny Okonkwo would be playing professional if they were born in Spain, here we still seem a little fixated with size and power but technique and skill are the difference.”
The brothers began playing football with Ringmahon at the age of five, coached through schoolboys by the likes of their dad Pa Murphy, Kieran O’Reilly, Graham Keohane, Kevin Ronayne and Johnny Forrest.
Christopher is a key player for Cobh Ramblers’ U19s while Timmy plays for MSL side Ringmahon.
“I would love to break into Cobh’s first team,” said Christopher. “I would also love to win the All-Ireland final with Douglas.
“Growing up in my family, although it was crazy at times, it definitely helped us with our sporting competitiveness. Because there was so many of us (eight in total) my mam and dad always had us out. My dad did so much for us in our sport.”
“My aim for the season is to get myself back to League of Ireland football or get the chance to break into Ringmahon seniors,” said Timmy. “I will drive on and work as hard as I can to achieve one of those.”
The talented duo have excelled at a number of sports. Christopher, 18, represented Ireland on three occasions in athletics.
“From winning the county four times to running for Ireland, it was such an amazing experience but I couldn’t have done any of this without my coach Steven Macklin or any of the lads that were in our group. I decided to play soccer full time, but I do miss athletics.”
For Timmy, athletics was key to his progress. Athletics is vital for every sport as it makes you quicker on your feet, sharper and fitter.
"Sport played a massive part in both of the lads' lives and they stress the importance of kids getting involved.
“It is very important for every kid to stay active and just even get up and go out for a walk. To be involved in team sports is fantastic for so many different reasons. Making friends for life and keeping healthy is paramount.
"For us, sport has been a saviour. There has being days when we were not in a good mood but then sport has always refreshed our minds and put us in a better mood and a better place. Long may it continue.”