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Football Origins with Darragh Lenihan

The defender is next in line to talk us through his footballing career

17 February 2020

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Darragh Lenihan is next in line to step up to the plate in our 'Football Origins' feature...

We sat down with the defender to discuss his career so far, his firsts, his favourites and much more.

This piece was in the recent matchday programme against Hull City.

First Football Memory

My first football memory that I can clearly remember was probably the 2002 World Cup. It was Ireland’s first World Cup and I remember Matty Holland scoring a goal against Cameroon to win 1-0. Because of the time zones over there, I think we woke up at like seven o’clock in the morning to watch it!

Team You Supported Growing Up

 I was a Manchester United fan. I was a big, big Roy Keane fan and my two older brothers are huge Man United fans, so I was a Man United fan.

First Game You Attended

Bohemians were my local club in Ireland. I can’t remember exactly who they played, but they play in a stadium called Dalymount. They would have been my first game that I went to.

First Football Shirt Owned

I had an away Manchester United jersey. It was a black strip and Sharp was the sponsor. I think it was a hand-me-down from my brother. That’s what we used to do. I wasn’t getting any brand new shirts!

First Pair of Football Boots

I had a yellow pair of Lotto boots. Same again, they were hand-me-downs. My brother had them and then I took over when he grew out of them.

Favourite Player

When I was growing up, it was probably Roy Keane. He was the big inspiration for me, being a Man United fan and obviously playing for Ireland at the time. Probably today, it would be Cristiano Ronaldo. We always have this discussion every so often, Ronaldo or Messi, but I’m a Ronaldo fan.

First Junior Team

It was my local team, Dunboyne. I started playing competitive football when I was four years old. I played for the under-7s when I was four, so I played four years at under-7s. At the end of every season, I was always like ‘oh why can’t I move on?’, but I didn’t realise I was too young and I had to keep filtering back and eventually I moved on.

Age You Were Scouted

I was first scouted at around 14 or 15. I went over to Middlesbrough and Derby, and got two contract offers, but they weren’t right for me and a year later, Blackburn came calling and I left that summer.

Professional Debut

For Burton Albion, it was Wycombe away live on Sky. I remember, I injured my ankle the day before the game and I was hobbling around in the warm-up thinking ‘how the hell am I going to play?’, but luckily I got through it.

Best Memory in Football

I’d say promotion from League One. Obviously it was bitterly disappointing to get relegated and then to get back up was a big achievement for us.

Best Advice Ever Received

I can’t remember who it’s from, but it always sticks with me that quote that says ‘train everyday like it’s your last day’ because you’re just trying to do everything that you possibly can to get better and that’s what I go by, each and every day.

Advice For Young Players

Enjoy it. Because I think nowadays it’s such a stressful and ruthless game. So just enjoy it and just play with freedom.

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