IT WASN’T quite the perfect ending to Lauren Egbuloniu’s Cork City career.
It wasn’t quite the last-minute winner in front of the Shed that she may have dreamed of in her final outing for the club but a last-minute assist for Christina Dring’s equaliser in the 2-2 draw with Athlone Town was close enough.
“It was a good way to go out,” she insists after overcoming an injury to play the full game. “There was no pain at all. I was a bit worried about it that morning but it was fine and I felt I put in a good performance. It was emotional at the end. I was just walking back into the dressing room, I was looking towards the stand and just taking it all in, absorbing it.”
The talented young striker continued to train with the club in the days after her last game in preparation for her move to college in America on a soccer scholarship.
Egbuloniu is travelling across the Atlantic today to begin life in her new home at Louisiana Tech University where she will be studying Health and Science promotion.
And while education is hugely important to her, she is also hoping the move can boost her chances of becoming a professional footballer.
“That was the one thing I looked for in a college, I went to MTU here for a year so I wanted to continue my course,” she adds. “Some colleges had it and some of them didn’t so I picked Louisiana because they had my course and said I could transfer my credits. The education side of it is just as important to me as the football side.
“I hope to open my own gym one day or become a personal trainer because there is a business side to that.
“That’s the plan anyway, where I do that? I don’t know, wherever it takes me. Plan A is to go pro with football but I know I need to have a Plan B because making it pro is really hard so I need to have something to fall back on.”
The easing of coronavirus restrictions allowed her mother Maeve and sister Kayla to be there to take in Lauren’s final moments in a City shirt — although a return eventually hasn’t been ruled out — on a significant day for the family.
“It was very emotional for us but we are very proud,” admits Maeve.
It was a bittersweet moment. The club did so much for her when she did her ACL, they were fantastic and we were just very happy to be able to see her last game.
“It’s a huge opportunity for her, not just the football but her education as well. It’s her dream and we want to see her fulfill that dream. It’s the end of this but the start of something new.”
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