THREE years ago Cope Foundation soccer managers Dominic Verkharp and Terence McSweeney contacted Leeds AFC to see if they could use their pitches for their games.
The answer was yes, however, not only did they get the use of the pitches, they also got a set of gear, and all they players got to join the club.
Two of those players Sean Murphy and David Dunlea went a step further and joined the coaches at the club, coaching in the underage academy.
James Fogarty, who is the Coaching Director and Senior manager with the Northside Club, welcomed the lads into the club with open arms.
“A couple of years ago Terence McSweeney and Dominic Verkharp contacted the club to see if they could use our pitch for their games.
"We meet up with the two lads and gave them a set of gear so they could play in the Leeds colours,” James said.
“Two of the players, Sean Murphy and David Dunlea then asked if they could join the coaching setup and we encouraged them to get their FAI PTD 1 and 2 badges.
"They did those courses over the lockdown on Zoom and now they are qualified coaches with our club.
”We as a club are very proud of the lads for getting their badges as they bring a lot of enthusiasm and energy to all our training sessions.
"The kids really connect with the boys and enjoy their enthusiasm for the game.
"Our club was recently awarded with an Active Community Award by the Cork Sports Partnership and the two lads received the award on behalf of the club,” James added.
The two lads are enjoying their experience with Leeds, and their quick to praise all the club coaches and committee members for the help and encouragement over the past three years.
Sean and David are two great characters and it wasn’t hard to connect with them when doing this interview.
“From the first time I came up to the pitch I was encouraged to get involved with the club at coaching and other duties,” Sean said.
“I always loved soccer and follow Aston Villa for my sins.
"When I arrived here James ( Fingers) Fogarty and Jason Yelverton really looked after me.
"They are always here to help me and they really engage with me at all the training sessions.
”I did my FAI coaching badges earlier in the year and found them to be very interesting and I learnt so much about coaching the young kids.
"I find that I’m a lot more confident now talking to people, and I’m looking forward to taking over he senior job from Fingers in the near future,” Sean said with a hearty laugh.
David came across as a very shy young man at first, however, as the interview progressed you could see the glint and excitement in his eyes.
“I stared playing soccer with Cope and my managers Dominic and Terence encouraged me to join Leeds,” David said.
“I am a Man United fanatic and I have traveled over to Manchester to see them playing on a number occasions.
"I thought the atmosphere was amazing and brilliant at Old Trafford and the people working there are very friendly.
”When I first came up to the club I was very shy, but the lads James, Colin and Jason Yelverton are very good to Sean and myself.
"They always take the time to have a chat with us and encourage and push us to get better with our coaching skills.
“I thought the coaching courses were very challenging at times, but when I got into difficulties James was always on the end of the phone with advice and encouragement.
"I am very proud to have my coaching badges now and I’m looking forward to doing more in the coming years.
"One of my aims are to eventually manage a schoolboys team with Sean and I know if we work hard we will be successful at the club.
”To receive the Active Community Award from the Cork Sports Partnership was a great achievement for the club, and we were delighted to receive the award on behalf of the club,” David added.
Former Leeds chairman Jason Yelverton was full of praise for the two young lads and also praised another young coach Owen O’Donovan, who is doing a FAI Fas Course at O’Shea Park with Dave Hill.
“We as a club always encourage all our young coach’s to try get their badges and I’m delighted for Sean and David who got their badges this year,” Jason said.
“There’s also another young coach Owen O’Donovan and his attending a FAI course at O’Shea Park this year.
"Owen is a great worker for our club and no job is too big or small for him as he is very reliable, and we would be lost without him," Jason concluded.