Coachford's Luke Casey on moving to Rockmount and pulling on the Irish jersey

'I have also played with and against some great players underage — Adam Idah, Adam O’Reilly, Tyreik Wright, and Jake O’Brien'
Coachford's Luke Casey on moving to Rockmount and pulling on the Irish jersey

Luke Casey (second from left) with Rockmount representatives on the Irish amateur team Adam Crowley, Brendan O’Connell, Eóin Murphy and Nathan Broderick.

FROM the junior ranks to becoming an Irish amateur international in two years, Coachford man, Luke Casey, has made massive strides.

The Rockmount left-winger is living the dream at the moment, playing with the top team in Cork and having the opportunity to represent his country, a huge honour for the player and his family.

The 21-year-old has had a fascinating football journey to date, progressing from junior football to senior.

“I only ever played with one club all my life before joining Rockmount, that being Coachford and I have fantastic memories. My dad and Paddy Martin were our coaches all the way up to youth level and were the main moulders of my love for and understanding of the game. We had a lot of success with that squad at schoolboy level having started in Division 5 at U12 and being at Premier level by the time we reached U14.”

Through his standout performances at underage level, it was no surprise when Casey began making representative sides.

“Being part of a great squad helped me to perform and therefore led me to play on many representative sides. I was selected for the CSL U12 team and I won an All-Ireland medal, scoring in the final. This representation continued every year for me and making the Kennedy Cup squad of 2015 was especially pleasing coming away with a Shield medal from that. In my short time with the Coachford adult team, I won a Mossie Linnane League Cup medal.”

He scored the winner in that final in 2019 and was previously in the FAI set-up when he got a call-up to the Emerging Talent squad after the Kennedy Cup.

Quick to praise others for his success, Casey said playing with and against great players improved his game but the influence many of his coaches had got him to reach the level he is now at.

“I am very lucky to have been coached by some excellent people. Some of the coaches who have helped me greatly to date are Paddy Martin; Donal Moynihan, who is the current manager of Coachford; Tim Mawe, the current manager of Carrigaline United; Steve O’Mahony, and of course my dad. I have also played with and against some great players — Adam Idah, Adam O’Reilly, Tyreik Wright, and Jake O’Brien are some players who I have played with and against and all of whom made me work harder.”

 Emmett Cotter, Midleton, battles Luke Casey, Rockmount. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Emmett Cotter, Midleton, battles Luke Casey, Rockmount. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

While he loved playing with Coachford, making the transition from junior to senior football seemed the right thing to do.

“I joined Rockmount in 2020 having been approached by Ethan McCarthy and Billy Cronin. Whilst I had other offers at the time from other MSL clubs once they asked me I jumped at the chance. Billy’s knowledge of the game and his success with Rockmount is well known and it seemed like the right choice at the right time for me to progress my playing career.

“Having known and played under Ethan before it felt like the right thing to go and be coached under him again as I know what he demands and what he expects of me.”

It was a difficult decision to leave the club and friends he’d been with from U10.

“Once I settled in with my new teammates and different structures I enjoyed it. To be fair I was playing junior premier which is a decent level anyhow so it prepared me well for the transition.

GRATEFUL

“It has been a crazy two years from playing AUL to representing Ireland at amateur level but I feel incredibly lucky. I first got told about being called up in the middle of December when my manager Eddie Kenny rang me. I was delighted as I always want to test myself and play with the best players.

“With Rockmount at the moment we have numerous players that have represented the amateurs so just chatting with the lads that have played with them before made me feel excited about the possibilities and opportunities that come with playing for the amateurs. Having our current captain Brendan O’Connell and Ken Hoey playing with me week-in, week-out and telling me about the experiences they have from playing with the amateurs made me excited to be involved.”

Ciaran Gilligan of Republic of Ireland U20s is tackled by Luke Casey of Republic of Ireland Amateur Selection during the friendly match at Home Farm FC. Picture: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Ciaran Gilligan of Republic of Ireland U20s is tackled by Luke Casey of Republic of Ireland Amateur Selection during the friendly match at Home Farm FC. Picture: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

His first game was in mid-December when they played an Irish Colleges and Universities selection in Home Farm.

To be able to put on that jersey for the first time and get out on the pitch with it on is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

“Just over two weeks ago we played the Region Cup play-off. The winner got the opportunity to represent the irish amateurs in the group stage, which is due to take place in Bulgaria in October. There was a lot of pressure on this game because if we lost we would lose the opportunity to represent the Irish team for two years. Luckily we won 3-0 on the day and to score in that game wearing the Ireland jersey was a very special feeling.”

His current focus is with Rockmount though, in particular this weekend’s FAI Intermediate Cup game against Donegal side Bonagee.

“It has been a great season so far with Rockmount and one that I am thoroughly enjoying. We have gone on a great run in the intermediate cup and with a home quarter-final this Sunday I’m hoping we can keep the run going and have a big say in the latter stages of the competition.

“In the Munster Senior Cup, we have Cobh Ramblers at home in the semi-final and although we will be underdogs we will give it our best to try and retain the trophy. It’s getting into the business end of the season and hopefully, we can keep winning games and that it will be a successful season.”

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