Wright's impact at Aston Villa reflects Lakewood's underage strides

Wright's impact at Aston Villa reflects Lakewood's underage strides
Ireland's Tyreik Wright in action last year. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

OVENS native Tyreik Wright is currently impressing in the Aston Villa underage system and trying to forge his way in the footballing world.

Wright made his mark for Villa in their recent FA Youth Cup victory over Swansea City, by getting the opening goal in a 4-2 success at Villa Park.

Next up for Wright and Aston Villa in the FA Youth Cup is a last 32 tie against Reading in January. Wright will look to play his part in that and keep the youth cup dreams for Villa alive.

A pacey winger that generally looks very efficient on the ball, Tyreik is a player that appears to have the skills set necessary to forge a decent career for himself, provided of course he can continue to knuckle down and progress.

Wright joined the Lakewood Academy, located just outside Ballincollig, at the age of six, playing his first game for the club in Terence McSweeney Park against Temple at the U7 age group.

Wright represented Cork at U12 and U13 level and would go on to captain Munster also later.

Athletic's Tyreik Wright takes on Ringmahon Rangers' Ross Malone, back in 2015. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Athletic's Tyreik Wright takes on Ringmahon Rangers' Ross Malone, back in 2015. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

At the age of 14, Wright was spotted by a scout from Aston Villa and he was invited to go on trial. That went well and there were two subsequent trials to follow.

The aspirations of Wright are to one day play in the Aston Villa first team and also become a Premier League footballer.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner earlier this year on signing for Villa, Wright described how much the move to England meant to him:

“I knew from the age of 12 or 13 that this is what I wanted to do, but playing Sunday football with my local club, Lakewood, over the years, I didn’t really think I’d be where I am today.

“Getting trialled with Aston Villa was probably the best moment of my life. That is until I was offered the contract.

“I hope to push on now and get into the first team within my first year. But my dream is to play in the Premier League.” 

Riverstown defender Luke Elliott trying to block down Ovens forward Tyreik Wright. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Riverstown defender Luke Elliott trying to block down Ovens forward Tyreik Wright. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Lakewood is continuing to grow in numbers and they now have 500 players on their books at all levels. With a playing pool of around 30 back in 1996, it works out at an increase of 12% per annum.

Wright is an inspirational person to those young lads at the club and there are sure to be a number of players in their academy system that will want to replicate what he is presently doing.

There is no denying the skill and talent Wright possesses, as he is already catching the eye at underage and international level. All in all, he is a young man that Lakewood should be deeply proud of. The Ovens club generally are in the middle of very exciting times.

During the month of August, Lakewood opened their all weather pitch during the FAI Festival Of Football.

The FAI Chief Executive John Delaney and the Minister For Agriculture, Michael Creed, were among the distinguished guests to attend the pitch unveiling.

“The progress made at Lakewood has been tremendous to see,” said Delaney.

“The club first approached the FAI over two years ago with their plans for an all-weather pitch and we committed to supporting them on the project.

“The FAI supplied €170,000 to help fund the project and it is fantastic to see such a great facility that will serve the local community and hopefully develop more international players,” he added.

Club spokesman Brendan Lenihan said Lakewood are excited about having such a state-of-the-art facility at their disposal.

“This is the best artificial grass surface pitch in Cork with the most advanced LED flood lighting. As well as allowing the club accept new members, the new pitch will provide significant benefits for the wider community and will be a fantastic addition to a multi-sport campus.

“It will deliver public health benefits by increasing participation in soccer and sport, by providing football-for-all opportunities, and it will be available to local groups to rent,” explained Mr Lenihan.

“But crucially for us, it will mean that Lakewood Athletic will be open for new members of all ages.” 

The forthcoming years look set to be an exciting period in the history of Lakewood Athletic Football Club.

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