You wouldn’t guess that Fergal Sheekey is the nervous type from the way in which he guards his goalline. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
You wouldn’t guess that Fergal Sheekey is the nervous type from the way in which he guards his goalline.
The Dundalk Young Irelands man has made the No.1 spot his own this year, capitalising on an injury to long-time regular Craig Lynch in starting all seven of Louth’s National League matches during the spring.
Yet, despite falling into the ‘rookie’ class, the 22-year-old’s inter-county career has, to date, been fairly flawless; the Dundalk man having carried his ‘on the edge’ style from Young Irelands’ all-conquering Louth and Leinster winning campaigns into Wayne Kierans’ maiden Wee County set-up.
And he doesn’t envisage changing his ways in any manner for his championship debut, against Wexford. There will be nerves, he says, but once he avoids the danger of early disaster, he’s confident of getting through with flying colours.
“I do be a nervous wreck going out on to the pitch,” Sheekey told The Democrat.
“I try not to let it on and when I get my first touch I do be grand, but it’s just getting that first touch… once it’s not picking it out of the net!”
One of two Irelands men set for involvement in Wexford, alongside the ultra-experienced Derek Maguire, Sheekey and football have been a seemingly never-ending engagement over the last 18 months.
The former Dundalk FC juvenile played his part as his club reached the All-Ireland JFC semi-finals in January, but took no break in between linking up with the Reds and wrestling the ’keeper’s jersey from another youngster, Ardee St. Marys’ Alan McGauley, ahead of the league.
Ultimately, with Lynch absent, Sheekey sensed an opportunity to stake a strong claim and he wasn’t for passing the chance up.
“I kind of sensed the opportunity at that stage because for the last seven or eight years, he’s been there and first-choice number one (for a couple of years).
“That gave me the upper hand to try and grab the number one spot.
“And it’s done me the world of good coming straight into the squad because with the club, you don’t get a goalkeeping coach.
“Coming straight into the Louth set-up with Duane Crosbie, the goalkeeping coach, you get a great session out of him and I can feel myself improving week-by-week.
“I think it’s been a benefit for me coming straight into the squad rather than taking a break and coming in flat.”
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