Kieran O’Hara credits mother with getting career off the ground
Manchester United goalkeeper says de Gea training improving his game
Republic of Ireland squad: Kieran O’Hara training in Turkey. Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty
Kieran O’Hara might owe his eligibility to play soccer for the Republic of Ireland to the paternal grandparents who left Galway for Manchester as teenagers, but it seems his mother can claim more of the credit for his actual goalkeeping career.
“My mum was reading the newspaper, and I think she wanted to get me out of her hair one Sunday,” the 21-year-old said after the senior Ireland squad’s first training session at its base in Belek, near Antalya in Turkey, “and it said that the local team” – Epsom Town – “something like the under-sixes or under-sevens, needed a goalkeeper. I wasn’t even that tall for my age, but I think she thought I’m pretty mad so let’s throw me in and see how I do, and it sort of went from there. I got picked up probably about a year or so later, and went to Manchester United. ”
These days O’Hara spends a good deal of his time training with David de Gea, and although United’s ability to buy in players for tens of millions of euro means the under-21 international has a particularly high hurdle to clear in order to progress any further at the club, he says he is in a very good place.
“Of course it’s a challenge, but that’s why you are in this game, for challenges. I feel that a lot of people view [de Gea’s presence] as a negative, but I look to turn that negative into a positive, because it’s really good to train with him every day, to learn from him every day, to see how he deals with certain situations and take those things into my game. For me that’s only going to make me into a better goalkeeper. It’s only to going to help develop me into the goalkeeper that I want to be.”