The words of RTE commentator Darragh Maloney will be remembered, when Dundalk fans speak about Daniel Kelly for years to come.
The Ringsend player scored Dundalk’s third and decisive goal when the Louth side defeated KI Klaksvik 3-1, to book their place in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League.
Dundalk return to the AVIVA Stadium tonight to face Rapid Vienna, with Kelly having the shortest journey of all travelling to the famous ground. The Dubliner lives in Ringsend, a stone's throw from where he hopes to score another European goal this evening.
Kelly’s route to the AVIVA Stadium and UEFA Europa League football is one that can inspire prospective stars around the country.
Playing in the Leinster Senior League with local side St. Patrick’s CYFC, Kelly was snapped up by Bray Wanderers. An impressive time in the Carlisle Grounds, saw him make the move to Bohemians, before Dundalk came calling ahead of the 2019 season.
While Kelly was playing locally, he was also a student on the FAI-ETB Course in Irishtown, under the shadow of the AVIVA Stadium.
Course Coordinator Gerry Davis told FAI.ie that Kelly’s talent was there to see from an early stage.
“Daniel was only 18, and playing with Ringsend Rovers, when he came to us. He was playing with their Saturday team in the Leinster Senior League. From there he went to Pat’s CY.
“We played St. Patrick’s Athletic in a pre-season friendly. They had players like Christy Fagan and Chris Forrester playing, and Daniel did really well. We knew he had potential.
“He epitomises our job in discovering talent, and getting players into the game at an elite level. He was never on anyone’s radar, but played with local clubs. He worked really hard with us.”
“The full time training makes a huge difference” Davis said, when asked about the positives on the FAI-ETB course. “We have daily access to the players, and they get on the pitch every day. That’s what we noticed, no matter the level. All the players improve.”
Dundalk have always looked favourably on ETB graduates. Irish international Daryl Horgan came through the system before shooting to stardom in Oriel Park. Current stars Chris Shields, Sean Gannon, John Mountney and Andy Boyle* also came through the ETB system too.
Kelly’s story is one that will inspire those students in ETB Centres around the country. His story could be rewritten by countless others in years to come.
*



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