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Donal Greene

Donal Greene is a promising young footballer who plays in goal for the Dundalk FC under 18 team.  He featured in the first team panel a number of times last season but on Thursday night, 8th January 2007, he made his debut in goal with the senior team, in their pre-season worm-up against Premier title hopefuls Derry City.  Dundalk won the game scoring 4 goals to no reply.  Donal played all his Schoolboy football with Bay F.C. and to mark his first appearance with the Dundalk F.C. senior team the Bay Website asked him to give us a rundown on his football career to date.  Heres what he had to say:

Fun And Enjoyment Comes First

I started playing football with Bay FC at the tender age of six, under the guidance of Frank Gaughran, and Mickey Dillon.  At that time we played in the field in Bay Estate before Bay moved to its new pitches on the Rock Road.  I played on the left side of midfield as a young fellow, and I dont think I was much good, but I loved football and had great fun playing with the team.  When I was about ten or eleven I tried playing as a goalkeeper.  I loved it right from the start and even though the team wasnt very successful, I was still enjoying it.  From then on I stayed in goals and was playing for the under 12, and under 13 sides when I was still only eleven.

 
League Honours

When I was 12 my managers were Frank Gaughran and Pat Campbell.  They felt I had some potential and I was sent for trials to the Dundalk Schoolboys League team.  I was selected to play for the League under 12 team, managed by Kevin Cotter.  This was the first bit of recognition I got as a goalkeeper.  We only played in a small tournament in Dublin but it was good to get my first experience at a higher standard of football.  The year after that (2003) I went to the prestigious Kennedy Cup tournament in Limerick with the League under 13 team managed by Kevin Cotter and Cronin McCabe.  I played in four out of our six games including the Kennedy Bowl final, which we lost to South Tipperary in extra time, through a contentious goal.  The following year we went to the world famous Milk Cup tournament in Derry.  Players such as Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Lee Bowyer have all showcased their talents at this tournament, so it was a massive opportunity to impress.  Unfortunately we left the tournament without a single win, which was disappointing.  The teams in our group were Paraguay, Ipswich Town, Swindon Town, Co. Derry, and Fermanagh.  One positive aspect of the tournament was that my team mate Conor McCormack was spotted by Manchester United and has since moved over there on a four year contract.

 
Moving On To League Of Ireland With Dundalk F.C.

After the Milk Cup I took up an invitation to join the Dundalk FC under 18 team and play in the DDSL super league.  Shortly after that I was invited to train with the Dundalk first team by the then manager, Jim Gannon.  When Jim left Dundalk to become manager of Stockport County, a team he had spent ten year playing for, he had the kindness to invite myself and another Dundalk player, Tiernan Mulvenna over to Stockport for a four-day trial.  This was a fantastic experience and I still harbour an ambition to go back there, after my Leaving Cert, to try to make it in professional football.

 

Premiership Trials

The summer of 2006 was pivotal in my development as a footballer.  Not only did I establish myself as Dundalk under 18 and reserve goalkeeper, as well as being involved with the first team squad on several occasions, I was also invited for a week long trial with Premiership newcomers Reading FC.  During my time there I trained with the first team goalkeepers, Graham Stack, and Adam Federici, and I also got talking to Irish strike duo Kevin Doyle, and Shane Long.  While at Reading I was involved in two friendly matches against Conference teams Aldershot and Arsenal.  Both games ending in two all draws.

 

Pulling On The Green Jersey

I was only home from Reading when I was straight on a plane to play with the Republic of Ireland under 17 team in an international tournament in Hungary.  I started in two of our three games in Hungary, against Poland, and Slovakia, we also played Serbia.

 

Feet On The Ground Education First

Things have quietened down since the summer and I have just returned to pre-season training with the Dundalk first team, however my chief worry at the moment is my Leaving Cert exams in June. After I complete that I will continue to pursue a career in professional football safe in the knowledge that I have my leaving cert to fall back on if all does not go to plan.

 

Thanks for the Help

The biggest influences on my football career so far include the people at Bay FC who continue to do fantastic work in the area. People like Frank Gaughran, Mickey Dillon, Tony Griffin, and Pat Campbell all deserve tremendous recognition for their efforts.  The fantastic coaches at Dundalk FC like Tommy Connolly, John Whyte, Stephen Carragher, John Gill, Gerry Scully and Collie ONeill have also influenced my career.  Other influences include Jim Gannon, who introduced me to senior football, Gary Lester, and Dermot ONeill, Dundalk goalkeeping coaches, and last but not least, Dundalk first team goalkeeper Chris Bennion who has been there to guide me throughout the last two seasons and hopefully will continue to do so.

 

Donal Greene 

Feb 2007