‘You could see at aged 7 he was special’: St Kevin’s pride in Ireland striker Evan Ferguson

Evan Ferguson has been on the up for quite a while now but a recent hat-trick against Newcastle United underlined the Brighton forward’s place as one of the Premier League’s most exciting talents.

In a cruel twist of fate for Stephen Kenny, injury subsequently ruled Ferguson out of the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2024 qualifiers against France and the Netherlands.


Ferguson already looks like Ireland’s most natural goalscorer since Robbie Keane, and at 18, the sky is the limit for the teenager.

Indeed, his recent form has prompted interest from the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.

However, Brighton will be reluctant to part with Ferguson for at least a few more seasons.

In a difficult spell for Irish football, Ferguson’s form in England’s top flight has given Irish supporters something to be excited about.

Advertisement Advertisement

The feeling is no different at Dublin’s St Kevin’s Football Club, where Ferguson played his youth football before making his Bohemians debut at 14, and joining Brighton in 2021.

Executive director and social media officer at St Kevin’s, Neil Fox, told BreakingNews.ie that Ferguson’s Premier League breakthrough has been a “huge moment for the club”.

“We’ve been lucky enough over the years to have some great players coming through the club; the likes of Liam Brady, Damien Duff, Ian Harte, and most recently Jeff Hendrick and Robbie Brady.

“Dara O’Shea is another and Evan Ferguson has tipped the scales. It’s a huge moment for all the managers and coaches that have worked with Evan over the years. To see him come from a schoolboy player, to a senior international, and then scoring a hat-trick against Newcastle. You can’t get better than that.”


Mr Fox said it was clear to coaches that Ferguson was a special talent, even when he first joined as a seven-year-old.


“They all knew. He worked closely with the likes of Karl Lambe, Rob Doran and Willie Burke, these guys that managed him over the years at the club have known from the start. I saw it myself when he came into the club as a 7-year-old. You just knew there was something special about him, it’s very hard to judge, but you knew when you saw him play at that age how he was miles ahead of everyone else and there was something special about this kid.”


He added: “If you look at his height and physicality, he was always bigger and stronger than the kids around him so straight away that’s an advantage to a centre forward like him. His attitude was the main thing though… he trains hard and works hard. He’s taken all the advice from his various managers over the years and used it.”

St Kevin’s has a proud tradition of bringing through players who reach the very top of the game at international and club level.

Mr Fox said a sense of togetherness with club volunteers, and their clear playing philosophy, are the two main ingredients in their success.


“There’s so many volunteers with the club, from everyone that answers the phones to sweeping the floors, hanging nets, opening the doors, and coaching. Because everyone does these jobs it’s not left to one person, everyone mucks in. It gives the managers and coaches more time to work with the players, to do more training. If a manager is all on his own it’s very hard when you’re looking after 16 or 17 kids to do all this, but in a club like ours we put emphasis on trying to help everyone.

“Everyone has a role and that covers everyone in the club, it’s a big community club. We all sing from the same hymn sheet regarding how we play from the back and keep the ball on the ground, so we all work together. There are no individuals teams or individual people, we are one club.”


Even before he played for Bohemians, Mr Fox said there had already been contact with Brighton over Ferguson. “Evan was always going to go to Brighton, we have a great relationship with different clubs in England and Europe.”

He said Ferguson is “still grounded and down to earth” despite his success, citing a training session at St Kevin’s he attended last year while back in Dublin.

Mr Fox said Ferguson also spoke to young St Kevin’s players at the Aviva Stadium before one of his appearances for Ireland.

Ferguson speaks highly of his family support, and Mr Fox said his father Barry, a former professional footballer, has played a big role in the forward’s success.

“His grandad, his dad Barry who I played with at the club, and now Evan, they all played for St Kevin’s. They’re a very lovely and grounded family.

Evan Ferguson after receiving the 2023 FAI Young Men’s International Player of the Year award. Photo: Ben Brady/Inpho

“As Evan said last week his dad would stand in the corner watching games and wouldn’t say a word, and that’s 100 per cent true. I know Barry and he never got involved with coaches or anything. He’s a football man, but he let the managers look after Evan and never got involved.

“Kids sometimes go over to England and think they’ve made it, but the work only starts there. Evan is incredibly hard-working, you need a bit of luck as well, but he has that class and has everything going for him.”

Mr Fox is certain that St Kevin’s will keep producing top players, and cited a few promising ones who played alongside Ferguson.

These include 18-year-old Kevin Zefi (Inter Milan), Seán Grehan (18) at Crystal Palace, 18-year-old Jamie Mullins (also with Brighton), and David Okagbue (19), who is on loan at Walsall from Stoke City.

Sourse: breakingnews.ie

No votes yet.
Please wait...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *