LUKE Casey’s goal last weekend against Wales, in an amateur international friendly at Turner's Cross, has been one of the highlights of his career.
The Rockmount player was one of seven Corkonians on the Gerry Smith panel that defeated Wales 2-1. Fellow Rockmount player Eoin Murphy also scored.
Highlights | Ireland 2-1 Wales— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) August 8, 2022
Two fantastic goals from Eoin Murphy and Luke Casey seal UEFA Regions Cup Amateur International Friendly win at Turners Cross 👏#COYBIG | #WeAreOne pic.twitter.com/TRZX3tL5Lh
Murphy opened the scoring with a superb goal that was soon cancelled out by a Wales equaliser. However, Coachford man Casey got the winner, with an incredible strike.
The game was part of Ireland’s build-up to the Regions Cup qualifiers in Bulgaria in October, which will also include a trip to Wales next month for the return game. Based on his performance last weekend, Casey will surely be part of the qualifiers.
The Rockmount left winger is living the dream, playing with the top team in Cork and representing his country, which has been a huge honour for him and his family.
Casey is excited about the coming months.
“It was an amazing and memorable occasion and experience,” said Casey. “Playing soccer is a dream of mine all my life and playing at this level is a dream come true.
“To have it played in Turner's Cross, with family and friends being able to be there and with so much local support, was great. Listening to the national anthem as we lined up was a special feeling.
“It was great for me to get 70 minutes on Saturday, as I had time to really get into the game.
“I felt I played well and getting the opportunity to take corners and free-kicks, to create some chances for us, was especially pleasing.
“Representing your country, playing with your friends and teammates, scoring and winning, nothing feels better than that.”
How special was scoring in front of a home crowd?
“The manager spoke to me before the game and said that he knew how good of a shot I had,” Casey said. “He advised me to take opportunities when they came and make sure they were on target. When the pass was played in, I knew I was going to hit it and, thankfully, it went in.”
To score for Ireland, nothing can beat that feeling.
“Out of the 20 players for Ireland, for 14 of us it was our first cap and that means a lot,” Casey said. “Winning spurs us on for our next matches and friendlies are a chance to show how well we can play.
“It also gives opportunities to the management team to see us all and how we play individually and as a team.
I love playing in Turner’s Cross and it was great that my family and friends were able to attend to see me play for Ireland.
“There was also so much local support from Coachford and Rockmount, which was great and very much added to the atmosphere on the day and when I scored, to hear the applause and support was immense. I am very thankful for their support.”
The five players from Rockmount were Casey, Brendan O’Connell, Eoin Murphy, Nathan Broderick, and Adam Crowley.
“Great to have the guys to play with at this level, as we know each other so well,” Casey said.
“Adam Murphy, my friend and Coachford AFC former teammate, and Simon Falvey, from Avondale, made up the rest of the Cork contingency.
“Next up is Wales away and then Northern Ireland, home and away. After these games, we will know if we made the final squad.”
That two Rockmount players were on the scoresheet has given the club a huge lift,” Casey said.
“Great for the club, and for underage to see what you can do if you put in hard work and training.
“It shows how good the coaching and support is at Rockmount and how well supported by the management team we are,” Casey said.