Cathal Heffernan joins AC Milan on loan with a view to a permanent deal

Cathal, the son of Olympians Rob and Marian Heffernan, has spent time in the recent past training in Italy with Serie A giants Juventus, Atalanta, Roma, and AC Milan
Cathal Heffernan joins AC Milan on loan with a view to a permanent deal

Former Ringmahon Rangers defender Cathal Heffernan clears from Blarney United's Arran Healy in an U13 CSL game in 2017. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

CATHAL HEFFERNAN is set to sign for AC Milan on loan with the option to buy after the Italian giants finally struck a deal with Cork City on Sunday afternoon.

Cathal, the son of Olympians Rob and Marian Heffernan, has spent time in the recent past training in Italy with Serie A giants Juventus, Atalanta, Roma, and AC Milan.

The 17-year-old had also been linked with a move to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen in the last days following a social media post by the player’s management team, Sire 7 which is run by fellow Cork native Stephen Ireland, showing the talented defender wearing the German club’s kit with the caption ‘soon’.

Cathal Heffernan had been linked with a move to Germany but is off to join AC Milan
Cathal Heffernan had been linked with a move to Germany but is off to join AC Milan

Reports then circulated that Heffernan was on the verge of signing for AC Milan as his parents were in the Italian city holding talks with the seven-time European Champions.

But it was understood that the Republic of Ireland underage international, who helped the young boys in green finish top of their group in the European U17 championship 2022 qualifying round when those games were played at Turner’s Cross in October, was not close to leaving Leeside as recently as Friday.

Heffernan is under contract at City, which is believed to run until the end of this season, having signed a contract last June.

City would, therefore, be entitled to a fee and despite initial talks between the two parties taking place, no such offer appeared to be forthcoming with sources close to the club telling The Echo that Heffernan wasn’t likely to be departing in this transfer window.

But over the course of the weekend, an agreement was made between City and Milan with the final details now just to be confirmed.

Heffernan was a promising GAA player as well, excelling for St Michael's in football and Blackrock in hurling before concentrating on soccer. He hurled in Thurles for a Cork Primary Games selection in 2017.

His excellence for Ringmahon Rangers saw him snapped up by the Cork City Academy and the centre-back made his senior debut on the final day of the 2021 season in the Rebel Army’s 3-0 win against Galway United at the Cross. He became the club’s youngest ever player in the process.

“Cathal has had a fantastic season this year,” manager Colin Healy told The Echo shortly after full-time that evening.

“He is the captain of the Republic of Ireland U17s so he’s doing really, really well for them. He plays every week for our U19s, scoring goals and putting in some very good performances as well.

Ireland U17 captain Cathal Heffernan in action in defence. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Ireland U17 captain Cathal Heffernan in action in defence. Picture: Larry Cummins.

“He has been in and out training with the first team - not a lot because he has been away with the internationals - and he was away in Coventry with our U17s last week and they won the competition so I have got to be careful that we can’t be using Cathal all the time.

“So we brought him on tonight, my plan was always to get him on at some stage but when he came on there I thought he was brilliant. He didn’t look out of place at all so he has a big future ahead of him.”

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