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Cork City teenager Cathal Heffernan set to join Italian giants AC Milan

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Cathal Heffernan is set for a move to AC Milan

Cathal Heffernan is set for a move to AC Milan

Cathal Heffernan is set for a move to AC Milan

Cork City teenager Cathal Heffernan is set to join Italian giants AC Milan on loan with a view to making the move permanent in the summer.

Heffernan - the son of Olympians Rob and Marian - is on course to become the third Irish teenager to move to Italy following in the footsteps of Kevin Zefi (Inter Milan) and James Abankwah (Udinese) with the latter returning to Ireland until he completes his Leaving Cert.

By contrast, Heffernan (16) will spend the next six months adjusting to life in Italy with Milan having the option to buy the player at the end of it.

Cork City agreed a similar deal with Crystal Palace last January for the defender Jake O'Brien with the switch subsequently made permanent.

Heffernan signed a pro deal with Cork City last summer but it's understood the contract had a release clause in it which means that the Leesiders are only in line to collect a small five figure sum.

However, this arrangement will mean a small loan fee is paid while it's understood Cork are in line for sell on and appearance clauses should the deal for the defender go through.

The player's decision to sign a pro deal allowed Cork to secure better terms than they would have received if he had remained amateur but the figures are modest in contrast to the money Udinese have paid for Abankwah who is 15 months older and already has a body of first team experience.

Heffernan is the Ireland U-17 captain and former Ireland and Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland has been operating as his advisor.

The youngster travelled to Milan last week but the move looked to be in jeopardy and he subsequently flew home. Discussions kicked off again and have continued over the weekend.

He was in Italy earlier this year training with a number of different clubs with a change in rules brought about by Brexit meaning that the UK is closed until he is 18.

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The centre half became Cork City's youngest ever senior player when he featured in their First Division clash with Galway United last October.


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