On Sunday afternoon Irish footballer Robbie Brady marked his Burnley debut with a stunning equaliser against top of the table Chelsea.
Add that to his crucial goal against Italy to send Ireland into the Euro 2016 quarter finals in June and it’s been an impressive last 8 months for the Baldoyle man. These achievements for both club and country are something Brady could’ve only dreamt about when he began his career at one of Dublin’s most famous schoolboy teams.
Neil Fox, the Public Relations Officer at St Kevin’s Boys football club in Dublin was part of the coaching set up during Robbie Brady’s 10 years with the club. He spoke about how the Burnley midfielder always stood out, even at a young age.
“Yeah I remember Robbie being at the club as a very young player and I was privileged to be involved in the coaching set up for two years but I wouldn’t dare take credit away from the managers and coaches that taught Robbie but I do remember Robbie as a youngster” explained Fox. “He was something else I have to say. Superb. A great attitude. You could see the drive he wanted to become a professional footballer.”
Attitude is something that is held in high regard at the Whitehall club as Fox explains. “Yeah I think the kids have to have a good attitude, they have to want to learn football, they want to listen they want to adapt and I think the problem with kids nowadays is it’s a different mentality than what it was years ago”
After Sunday’s game Brady showed that positive attitude cultivated by his schoolboy club, praising his new teammates performance over his own. “The lads were fantastic” began Brady, “It just shows exactly what they’re about. The togetherness and the grit they showed, especially the last few minutes, were excellent to see it off.”
It is not just Robbie Brady however; St Kevin’s boys have produced some of the finest players Irish football has ever seen. Their alumni include the likes of Liam Brady, Damien Duff and Jeff Hendrick. In 20 years they have produced 5 full Irish internationals. Something Fox admits the club are very proud of.
“As a club we’re very proud to see any player who has come from St Kevin’s boys at an early age and if he’s come through the whole system from 5 years of age to 18 and then if he stays on for a senior session it’s a great privilege for us.”
Fox continues “When you see a player who has worked so hard move on to play in England or Europe and represent the country, it’s unbelievable it is, it’s a great buzz. It’s a great achievement for the managers and coaches who have been involved with these guys since early doors and watched them grow up to become professional footballers”
St Kevin’s want to continue producing Irish international’s in the mould of Brady and as Fox outlines it is the club’s tried and tested philosophy that is vital to that.
“How it works at St Kevin’s is we take young footballers, young boys and girls in from the age of 5, we have a philosophy that we teach kids the basics of getting the ball on the ground and passing it out from the back we work from that and all our managers and coaches follow the same philosophy of playing simple football”
Fox explained that “it’s a huge thing that we’ve done and we’ve stuck at it for years, obviously we’ve tweaked it a little bit, obviously football is changing an awful lot you have to introduce new training ideas and facilities into the modern game. We’ve stuck by a basic concept and it works for us.”