FESTY EM­BARKS ON DERBY DREAM

Gorey Guardian - - NEWS -

OVER THE YEARS, many fine play­ers have graced the pitch at Belle­field, the home of Moyne Rangers. But in re­cent times, few have gar­nered the same lev­els of praise as young Festy Ebosele.

Hav­ing com­pletely stood out in the Wex­ford League at un­der-12 and un­der-13 lev­els with some stel­lar per­for­mances, Festy pro­gressed to St Joseph’s School­boys in Sal­lynog­gin, be­fore mak­ing the step up to Bray Wan­der­ers. How­ever, last week it was con­firmed that the 16-year-old from Clu­ain Buí, En­nis­cor­thy, had put pen to pa­per on a three-year deal with Derby County.

While Derby nar­rowly missed out on pro­mo­tion to the Pre­mier League for this cam­paign, los­ing out in the play-offs to Ful­ham, the Cham­pi­onship club has big aspi­ra­tions of mak­ing the leap back to the top flight. How­ever, Festy re­mains un­daunted by the club’s stature and hopes to force his way from the youth setup into the first team over the next three years. While most lads his age are im­i­tat­ing Frank Lam­pard on muddy pitches, Festy will be hop­ing to force his way into the Chelsea leg­end’s plans for the Derby team as he aims to re­store them to the promised land of the Pre­mier League.

‘This has been go­ing on for about a year,’ said Festy’s fa­ther Fus­tas. ‘They had scouts at the games to watch him and they fol­lowed his progress. Then there was a lot of things to be agreed. He used tran­si­tion year to travel over and back and set­tle in and now he loves it. There is no prob­lem.’

A keen foot­baller him­self, Fus­tas moved to Ire­land from Nige­ria and swapped the hus­tle and bus­tle of Dublin for the quiet life in En­nis­cor­thy back in 2000. While he al­ways en­joyed soc­cer, he’s re­luc­tant to take any credit for any of his son’s pas­sion and abil­ity.

‘It was his own in­ter­est re­ally,’ he said. ‘He tried out dif­fer­ent sports be­fore de­cid­ing to con­cen­trate on soc­cer and say­ing that this was what he wanted to do. He has al­ways been foot­ball mad since he first started play­ing the Moyne Rangers when he was around eight.’

From that early age, Festy be­gan to shine and stand-out on the foot­ball pitch as a real tal­ent. Former man­ager and Moyne Rangers chair­man Kevin Lawlor says it’s no sur­prise Festy has earned a big break. ‘He played un­der-12 and un­der-13 with us and he did stand out,’ he said. ‘I had the priv­i­lege of man­ag­ing him my­self and I re­mem­ber the last game he played for us was a cup fi­nal against Gorey Rangers. He was ab­so­lutely out­stand­ing. He scored a hat-trick and we won 4-1. He was un­playable. Some of the lo­cal re­porters said it was the finest school­boy per­for­mance they had ever seen!’ As part of the deal with Derby County, the En­nis­cor­thy club will be due some com­pen­sa­tion for help­ing to de­velop Festy’s tal­ent; a tal­ent which has seen him rep­re­sent Ire­land at un­der-15 and un­der-16 level. Kevin says he was an ab­so­lute joy to work with. ‘He’s a lovely lad,’ he said. ‘He’s got speed, he’s got skill, he’s got the lot. We used to play him in mid­field, but he’s added a lot of goals to his game and is scor­ing quite freely. I’m de­lighted for him. Derby seem to have very high hopes for him so hope­fully he can progress even fur­ther.’ In terms of that progress the first step is to cap­ture the at­ten­tion of man­ager Frank Lam­pard. ‘Hope­fully he can start to break into the first team,’ said proud fa­ther Fus­tas. ‘He is work­ing hard and now he has a three year con­tract, so hope­fully he will get his chance.’

Festy Ebosele in the un­der-16 friendly be­tween Ire­land and Bul­garia in April. Festy be­ing praised in this news­pa­per back in May 2015.

Festy in the un­der-16 friendly be­tween Ire­land and Bul­garia in April.

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