St Pat’s 17-year-old sensation Sam Curtis tipped for bright future

Sam Curtis

Sean O'Connor

St Patrick’s Athletic assistant manager Jon Daly has tipped defender Sam Curtis for a bright future after the 17-year-old made his Ireland U-21 debut against Iceland last weekend.

Curtis was called up from the U-19s and started for Jim Crawford’s side in Cork last Sunday as the hosts came from behind to win 2-1 in the friendly.

The Saints man produced a fine display at right-back, before linking back up with the U-19s for Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat to Slovenia, as Tom Mohan’s side missed out on Euro qualification.

Daly says the club will monitor his fitness after starting three internationals in the space of a week, but admits they are expecting many clubs to be interested in the highly-rated teenager when he turns 18 in December.

“We’ve been delighted with him getting called up to the U-21s as well, it’s a fantastic achievement for someone so young,” said Daly, who will take charge of St Pat’s meeting with UCD this evening (7.45), with manager Tim Clancy suspended.

“He’s fantastic and a great talent. He has an aggression in his game that you don’t really see in younger players. Quality-wise, he's been very good. He’s still learning the game and we’re hoping he keeps improving.

“He’s done well and he’s made that spot at right wing-back his own. We’ve been more than happy with him,” Daly added, with Curtis starting all six league games so far this term.

“He’s 17-years-old and could probably play 90 minutes every day. He’s fit and he’s available for selection which is a positive after international duty.

“I’d imagine there have been enquiries already. He’s just got to keep focused on playing his football for us. The most important thing for people his age is to play first-team football at a good level and play against men. It’s massive for him that he’s in the first team environment on a daily basis.

“When he turns 18, the club will deal with that when it happens. The old pros around him won’t let him get ahead of himself. He’s got a good head on his shoulders and we’re very pleased with what he’s done so far.”

St Pat’s ended a run of three successive defeats with a 2-2 draw against champions Shamrock Rovers a fortnight ago, courtesy of Jake Mulraney’s superb 88th minute strike. Although they remain ninth ahead of tonight’s clash with the Students, Daly hopes it can be the beginning of a run to help them climb the table.

“Coming from behind twice in Tallaght shows good character from the players, we could see they left everything on the pitch,” he added, with St Pat's winning one of their opening six games.

“They’ve set a marker of what they can do, it’s trying to get that consistency now and to get a run of games together. We know we’re not where we want to be at this moment in time. We need to focus on UCD and make sure we perform, match their workrate and hope we come out on top. Tim has a one-match ban. I know what he's looking for so there won’t be any issues.”

New signing Dean Lyness made his St Pat's debut in the St Patrick's Day draw at Tallaght Stadium, as David Odumosu was dropped, and impressed with several key saves. The 31-year-old reflected on a whirlwind few weeks after arriving in Inchicore having been without a club since October.

“It happened quite quickly, I got the phone call from Tim and jumped on a flight over,” said the Birmingham native, who had previous spells with Burton Albion and St Mirren.

“I knew Danny Rogers,” he added, with the fellow goalkeeper currently sidelined for St Pat’s with injury.

“I was with him at St Mirren and when I signed it was his injury there that got me the chance. He’s pulled off two clubs for me in my career,” laughed Lyness.

“With a young family back at home, I had to think about how it would work logistically. My wife has been so supportive in me coming over which has made it a lot easier. I have really enjoyed it since I have been in. It’s a new experience, hopefully we can get some success.

“It would have been great to get three points instead of one (against Shamrock Rovers). It was great to experience an atmosphere like that. Hopefully we can try and give the fans something to shout about. They can be the 12th man for us in the home games. It stopped the rot after losing three games in a row and gives us a chance to put a little run together and get some momentum into our season.”