Interviews with our famous club alumni

Niamh Farrelly (Peamount United and Ireland Women’s International)

Q1. Who do you support and who is your favourite player?
I’m a big fan of Arsenal and my favourite player growing up has to be Cesc Fabregas.

Q2. Tell us about your time at Esker and memories of the club?
I was only actually at Esker for a year. It was my last year playing with the boys. It was a good year; we were in the DDSL Premier so it was very tough. We didn’t win many games, but it was a good experience.

Q3. How did the club help you progress with your career?
Playing with the boys really helped develop my game.

Q4. What advice would you to give young Esker players and coaches?
My best advice for a younger player would be to work hard. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, listen to your coaches and enjoy your football because that’s the most important thing.

Josh Giurgi (Norwich City U23 and Ireland Youth International)

Q1. Who do you support and who is your favourite player?
I support Manchester United and my favourite player and idol is Cristiano Ronaldo!

Q2. Tell us about your time at Esker and memories of the club?
My time at Esker Celtic was short but was very essential to the start of my footballing career as that was where I first learned the basics of football! I have some great memories at the club such as scoring free kick goals from the halfway line 😂 and also rising through the ranks of the academy playing with my school friends!

Q3. How did the club help you progress with your career?
I think the club was the first real stepping stone for me because as I said that is were I learned the basics of playing football and also what it means to play football!

Q4. What advice would you give young Esker players?
The advice I would give young Esker players is to just focus on playing football and enjoying it, because it is the greatest sport in the world!!!

Darragh Markey (St Patrick’s Athletic senior player)

Q1. Who do you support and who is your favourite player?
I support Manchester United, but my favourite player has always been Lionel Messi.

Q2. Tell us about your time at Esker and memories of the club?
I was only at the club for a year but the main thing I remember was just enjoying it as only a young fella playing with lads that I would still call good mates to this day.

Q3. How did the club help you progress with your career?
I had a great year with Esker and always remember doing Summer camps in Hermitage Park when I was young too. I always really enjoyed them and I’m sure they would have helped me to improve my game as a young kid.

Q4. What advice would you give young Esker players?
The advice I would give to any young player is to make the most out of playing freely with your friends everyday at training or in matches and keep working hard at it as long as you’re still enjoying it, which is always the main thing.

Paul Cleary (St Patrick’s Athletic senior player)

Q1. Who do you support and who is your favourite player?
I support Chelsea and my favourite player would be N’Golo Kante. I love the way he plays and the way he carries himself on and off the pitch. I’m also a massive Ireland fan and watch all the games I can.

Q2. Tell us about your time at Esker and memories of the club?
I’ve had loads of great memories at Esker through the years, my earliest memories would definitely be playing in the academy every Saturday morning in Hermitage Park. We had a successful team and won lots of leagues and cups. We played in the DDSL premier division at U11s which was great.

Q3. How did the club help you progress with your career?
Esker was a great club to start off for me as they made sure each player was enjoying themselves at ever training session and match. It allowed me to develop as a player at a young age while enjoying it with my mates. Each coach such as Paul Rice, Brian Cleary, Paul Cleary, Gay O’Gorman and Ray Carroll were great with the players and always wanted us too improve while enjoying ourselves.

Q4. What advice would you give young Esker players?
My message to young players would be to always enjoy it. Don’t get too down on yourself if you think you’ve had a bad game as there’s always going to be another game or training session to bounce back. And always try to be a good teammate and encourage your mates on the pitch 👍🏻

Zak O’Neill (Cabinteely FC senior player)

Q1. Who do you support and who is your favourite player?
I’ve supported Liverpool my whole life. My favourite player has always been Steven Gerrard. He had a special ability to change games completely by himself throughout his career.

Q2. Tell us about your time at Esker and memories of the club?
As I was only beginning my career, I had a great time at Esker. I have amazing memories of just enjoying my football with close friends and not taking things too serious.

Q3. How did the club help you progress with your career?
The club helped me a lot to develop into the player I am today. The basics of playing football and setting high standards when doing so were instilled in me from the coaches. I still keep in contact with some of my old coaches/managers today.

Q4. What advice would you give young Esker players?
The advice I would give to young Esker players is to continuously work hard but also try to maintain a balance by having fun. When it comes to anything in life, you perform at your best when you are enjoying yourself and having fun while doing it.

Adam Wells (Shamrock Rovers II and Ireland Youth International)

Q1. Who do you support and who is your favourite player?
I support Manchester United and my favourite player is Cristiano Ronaldo.

Q2. Tell us about your time at Esker and memories of the club?
I had a great time at the club. Played 6-7 years for Esker. My dad was my manager and was the best coach I’ve had to this day; he did so much for me, the team and the club. Have great memories of winning the U11 League and winning Player of the Year that season.

Q3. How did the club help you progress with your career?
The club had a good atmosphere and good ethics aswell. Always asked for you to do your best and the staff were all very nice and helpful.

Q4. What advice would you to give young Esker players and coaches?
My advice would be to always give 100% and to try and outwork everyone else. Put the work in and you will see the results, everyone’s competing against each other for a chance to go professional so you have to give yourself the best chance to do so 👍🏻

Kyle Robinson (St Patrick’s Athletic U19 and Ireland Youth International)

Q1. Who do you support and who is your favourite player?
I support Liverpool and my favourite player is Roberto Firmino.

Q2. Tell us about your time at Esker and memories of the club?
I played for Esker since I was 5 years of age then moved to St Kevin’s Boys when I was 10. My favourite times at the club was scoring goals and enjoying my playing time.

Q3. How did the club help you progress with your career?
Esker helped me a lot because it gave me somewhere to start and to move on to where I am today.

Q4. What advice would you give young Esker players?
My advice to players at Esker would be to work hard on and off the pitch, never give up and have a good attitude and always do your best even when it’s going wrong. THE KEY TO SUCCESS IS FAILURE.

Jamie Callaghan (Bray Wanderers U17)

Q1. Who do you support and who is your favourite player?
My favourite football team is Arsenal, but I have to say right now my favourite player would have to be Virgil van Dijk. What he’s done with Liverpool has been world class, he’s someone I love to watch.

Q2. Tell us about your time at Esker and memories of the club?
My time at Esker was very good, I wouldn’t of changed a thing. One of my favourite memories was when we’re near the bottom of the league after our first season in the top league and we had 3 games left and we needed to win 3 out of 3 to stay up against 3 very good teams but we pulled it off. I think it was against Cherry Orchard, , WFTA and Lourdes Celtic.

Q3. How did the club help you progress with your career?
The club helped me progress with my career because I was enjoying my football with my friends from school, playing week in week out and that’s all you want as a kid.

Q4. What advice would you give young Esker players?
Just enjoy your football, make sure your happy because that’s all that matters. Also keep trying to improve on something new everyday.

Ben Clarke (Cardiff City FC Academy Coach)

Q1. Who do you support and who is your favourite player?
I support Liverpool and my favourite player is Jordan Henderson as he is everything i look for in a player – dedicated, hard-working and passionate.

Q2. Tell us about your time at Esker and memories of the club?
I spent 4 years at Esker Celtic and I loved every minute, I started off coaching my brother’s (Harry Clarke, now with UCD U13s) U11 team and coaching my other brother’s team in the Academy. I then moved to an U13 team along with the Academy and stayed with them for 2 years. My favourite team would have to be the 2007 boys (now U13) I coached them along with Olivier Mantoulan for 4 years and had so many great memories. They won plenty of tournaments such as the Liffey Valley Rangers tournament (twice in a row), trips all around Ireland which were great and not to forget our great week in France.

Q3. How did the club help you progress with your career?
The club really helped me start my career in football. They allowed me to get really involved with numerous teams which really helped me gain lots of experience and they helped me progress through various coaching courses. It was actually because of Vanessa O’Donnell that I got to go to the UK to coach and I have been working over here for 5 years now.

Q4. What advice would you to give young Esker players and coaches?
My advice to young players at Esker is to love the game, spend every single spare second of the day outside playing with a ball at your feet! Work hard in training, even if your friends are messing – this just means you’ll be better than them! Hard work and dedication are so important!My advice to young coaches is get as much experience as you can – even if your making mistakes or finding it difficult, keep going and keep learning. In my first year at Esker I threw myself at it and coached 4 days a week and had games on both Saturday and Sunday. Also don’t be afraid to connect with other coaches, internally (get a cuppa and talk to other coaches) externally (go on courses and talk, use Twitter or Linkedin).

Corey O’Neill (Piedmont Soccer Club Coach)

Q1. Who do you support and who is your favourite player?
Liverpool. Currently it has to be Firmino. His technical ability is amazing combined with his constant work rate for the team is eye opening. I love his goal celebrations too!

Q2. Tell us about your time at Esker and memories of the club?
I played for Esker growing up and then returned to coach my brother’s U11 team 7 years ago as it was my first Head Coaching role, both experiences help formed me as a player, coach and a person. I was in contact with hard working people who loved the game of football as much I do and always willing to put countless hours into growing the club in a positive structure.

Q3. How did the club help you progress with your career?
A lot of people were very supportive in allowing a 20 year old to lead a team with such great young players. They look out for their coaches and were open to listening to feedback, which I was very appreciative of. They encouraged me to talk to more experienced coaches, to encourage feedback in my work and focus on relationships with players, parents and other coaches.

Q4. What advice would you to give young Esker players and coaches?
I am currently coaching the younger age groups at my club and my 3 teams are two U9 Boys as well as a U12 Girls team, our motto in the teams is “make your life easy”, by that I mean is play to your strengths, focus on what you can control and play to perform at your best.
As a coach, I would reiterate to enjoy trying new things such as playing style, formations, reading materials, different teams, reaching out to other coaches for conversations and always revert back to your environment.