Wednesday 22 November 2017

Stars in their eyes. . . joy for pupils as United legends drop by

Manchester United great Denis Irwin and pupils from Rutland National School, Dublin. Julien Behal
Manchester United great Denis Irwin and pupils from Rutland National School, Dublin. Julien Behal
Laura Butler

Laura Butler

IT'S not every day that a football legend comes to town, never mind two.

The pupils of Rutland National School in Dublin's inner city were treated to a visit by former Manchester United stars Denis Irwin and Peter Schmeichel.

"The kids have spent the past few days watching YouTube videos from matches that Peter and Denis were playing in," school principal Darina Burke said.

"To have them visit us is absolutely fantastic for the inner city."

There was pandemonium when the Cork-born defender and Danish goalkeeper emerged on the school's rooftop playground to sign memorabilia and dish out football tips.

And both children and staff alike were starstruck. For Calvin McAuley, getting a chance to impress Schmeichel and Irwin with his keepy-uppy skills was a dream come true.

Fifth-class pupils Niamh Fagan (11) and Alanna Hanney (11) were the talk of their neighbourhood when news spread of the famous visitors, who were brought over for the Aon Ireland Business of Risk and People Symposium, held at the Aviva Stadium yesterday.

"My brothers were so jealous when I left the house this morning, we're all massive Man Utd fans in our house and now I'm the only one with a signed ball," said Niamh, who won an in-house colouring competition for her drawing of Schmeichel at the goal posts.

"It's great to be here at an inner city school and I've no doubt we'll see some stars of the future come from this area," Irwin said.

"When you get to my age and are so far beyond your active career, the idea that kids still remember you at all is just mind-blowing," Schmeichel told the Irish Independent.

"I didn't expect them to know me at all, it's so nice. It makes you feel like you've done something good in your life."

Irwin also commended fellow Corkman Roy Keane for taking on the role of the Republic of Ireland's assistant manager.

He said that while it's been a "whirlwind" start for Keane, he believes the dynamic duo of Martin O'Neill and his right-hand man will do wonders for the national side.

"It's been a whirlwind start for Roy, but the Latvia game went perfectly well.

"The Poland game was always going to be a bit tougher, they battled hard as you'd expect with any Irish team. I think they would've learnt a lot more from that," Irwin said.

"It's a good start, the next game is not for another four months, but it's great for the country."

Irish Independent

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