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Heavron aiming to seize golden chance at Derry

By Declan Bogue

Published 05/01/2016

Big impression: Shane Heavron starred on his Oak Leafs debut
Big impression: Shane Heavron starred on his Oak Leafs debut

When it comes to overnight sensations, Shane Heavron's tale is as good as any that emerge from January football. Dropped from the Derry county minor squad a few years ago and not being considered for Under-21 trials, Heavron is inherently shy.

Two goals on his senior debut on Sunday, with 1993 All-Ireland winner Fergal P McCusker crowning him the man of the match despite playing only 40 minutes in the Oak Leafs' Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup win over Antrim, will soon force him out of his shell.

Heavron said: "I was a bit embarrassed! I wasn't expecting it at all, especially when I only played five minutes of the second-half. But I am happy enough."

As he stands giving an interview to reporters, some team-mates delight in his discomfort, telling us to "write him up, that boy's the future of Derry football!"

It prompts a line back from Heavron that had he known reporters were waiting for his thoughts on his debut, he "would have stayed in the showers!"

After turning 22 on Saturday, his first score arrived when Conor McAtamney's long free arrived at Heavron's Magherafelt clubmate Emmett McGuckin, who tipped it into his path. The debutant slid it to the net like Ian Rush.

He added a point before the break and collected his second goal when he took advantage of an Antrim muddle to toe-poke a bobbling ball home.

"I think it just worked for me," he bubbled afterwards.

"I am looking forward to playing for the county, it is a great achievement in itself. Last year, I wasn't part of the Under-21s or anything. It is good this year to get the call-up."

He spent last summer in America, and had been making vague plans to do the same in 2016 before Damian Barton asked him to come along to the Derry trials.

He admits he only attended because there was a contingent of half a dozen going from his club.

"I think the fact that there are five men from our club there, I wouldn't have wanted to commit to it myself because I wouldn't have known anybody," he explained.

"But the fact that there are those boys up, and it's a young team, all the boys make you feel welcome. I was dropped from the minors and then I didn't go to the Under-21s.

"I never thought I was good enough and then I went to America last year and it was in my head I was going to America, so I didn't think too much about it.

"And then this year, I thought about going to America and said, 'No, I will give this a push'."

Barton told him he would be starting against Antrim on New Year's Eve, which he said put paid to any thoughts of socialising that night.

As a Human Resources and Management student in Jordanstown, it comes as a surprise to learn that he has never played a minute of football, or been asked to, for his college.

Until you consider how bashful he is, it makes no sense. But it seems inconceivable that Jordanstown managers Martin McHugh and Benny Hurl will not be giving him a call-up before they host the Sigerson Cup in mid-February.

Belfast Telegraph

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