Douglas Community School has a history of producing Cork soccer stars

Douglas Community School has a history of producing Cork soccer stars

Douglas Community School is proud of its Irish U15 soccer internationals Cathal Heffernan and Oran Crowe.

A GLANCE at the wall upon entering Douglas Community School illustrates the calibre of footballing talent who are among the past pupils.

There is a photograph of Eoghan O’Connell, now at Rochdale, in action for Celtic against Barcelona and a certain Lionel Messi, while there are also jerseys belonging to Adam Idah (below), who has made plenty of headlines with his exploits at Norwich City recently and Adam O’Reilly (Preston North End), along with goalkeeper Colin Doyle.

The school though has representation on the international stage with Ireland at underage level through two current students, both of whom spoke to The Echo.

Cathal Heffernan, son of Irish Olympians Rob and Marian, was recently made captain for the Ireland U15s side in the friendly win over the Australia U17s.

“It was some feeling. I was so happy when I found out and I was delighted. To do it was such an honour. Even to represent your country is, but to be captain it was a huge honour,” recalls Heffernan on being chosen to be captain.

“I have loved it and have learnt so much with the Ireland U15s. I have been taking in so much information and stuff like that.

“The coaches have been a really good help and I am learning as I go along. So it has been really good the past couple of months being in the Irish squad.”

Heffernan has been a regular part of an Ireland side that has a 100% record this term. They have played eight and won eight, with Heffernan an integral member of the side.

He is already attracting the interest of clubs cross channel, with the likes of Celtic and Preston North End rumoured to be monitoring his progress.

For now Heffernan is currently back in pre-season mode with the Cork City underage system.

While with the Irish U17s, Oran Crowe also has plenty to look forward to over the next few months.

Crowe had the added bonus of being able to represent his country here on Leeside at Turners Cross, as the Colin O’Brien managed side got through the first phase of U17 European Championship qualifying with a 100% record.

Oran Crowe. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Oran Crowe. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

“It was incredible. I have been going to Turners Cross since I was four or five. So to play there with your country, with your friends and family in the stand, it was unbelievable to be honest.

“That (the Elite qualifying round) is at the end of March in Scotland. But we will have a few friendlies in February before that, we are playing Switzerland and Spain.”

For both Crowe and Heffernan, they are lining out in the underage system at Cork City, both getting a good quality footballing education on their own doorstep by the City underage coaches and former City playing legends such as Dan Murray and Billy Woods.

Heffernan is quick to acknowledge the role which City have played in his career over the past number of months.

“Since I have gone in at City, they got me ready to go up to the Irish U15s squad.

“Cork City have prepared me really well and they gave me loads of tips on what I need to do to get into the Irish squad.

“City have got me to where I am today. You know that you are getting really good, top advice off them.

“They will be straight with you. They will tell you what you need to improve on, so they are great.”

Crowe added: “It is great, you are in such a high class environment with the top coaches and the best players from not only around Cork, but there is some from Waterford and Kerry joining us.

“You have to be on your toes in all of the trainings, so that is great.

“It has been great learning off them. Last year, I was with Liam Kearney and Cathal Lordan. Just learning off them and now even with Colin Healy, you get to learn off such great players and Cork City legends.”

Heffernan also has two parents who know what it is like to perform in a high level sporting environment. He illustrates the role of helping and encouragement which Rob and Marian play.

“It is good to have them. They are always telling me how do I need to go to get where I am today.

“They always push me to how to get better and are a really good help.”

Cathal Heffernan. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Cathal Heffernan. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

We finish our chat at the point where we first started, on Douglas Community School.

Crowe outlines how some of their high profile past pupils are providing a source of inspiration to the current students about what can be possible for them to achieve.

“Adam Idah went to school here and now he is getting his chance, playing at Old Trafford. It is only good for us young players seeing that and it only drives us on.

“That is what I want to do and seeing players like Adam Idah go in through this school, under Colin O’Brien as well, just trying follow him and get over to where he is now.

“That is the dream for most of us, to try and play in England.”

On the day we were present, Douglas Community School also announced a new partnership with FLYEfit.

It shows the commitment and determination of those in the school, who will hope a few more footballing stars can follow the path forged already by some.

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