MATT DOHERTY has made a €15,000 donation towards buying equipment for a football course he learnt his trade at.
The Education Training Board (ETB) programme in Cabra have earmarked the funds to purchase laptops, GPS tracker vests and a motion camera for its 24 pupils.
Doherty spent 18 months on the full-time programme before Mick McCarthy snapped him up for Wolves from Bohemians in 2010.
Now a Premier League mainstay, he will make his 300th appearance for Wolves in Sunday’s concluding league fixture at Chelsea.
The right-back has proven particularly adept at joining the attack, his role in either scoring or assisting 27 Wolves goals is the highest for a defender this season bar Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Despite his success, the Ireland defender clearly hasn’t forgotten his roots by making the gesture through the agency, Jorge Mendes’ GestiFute group, which also represents Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I feel the course was of huge benefit to me,” said the 28-year-old today. “I was 16, out of school and not up to much but the course instructors Harry McCue and Gino Brazil gave me the opportunity to train in a full-time environment.
“It educated me about the game and I can say that gym work helped me hit the ground running when I went to England.
“I would advise any youngster given the opportunity of participating in the course to take it with both hands.”
Another graduate from the Dublin 7 hothouse run former League of Ireland legends McCue and Brazil is fellow Irish international Enda Stevens, while Kevin Long, Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan, as well as Katie McCabe, spent time on the FAI scheme before winning senior caps.
FAI-ETB Cabra Course Coordinator, Harry McCue said: "It’s really great that Matt has remembered the opportunity which our course gave him to train full-time and I believe it had a big influence on improving his game and helped him to reach the fitness levels required to get to the next stage of his career.
"Of course, Matt had great ability and resilience which was most important. However, it’s really nice that Matt and his dad Tom have acknowledged the work that we do here in the FAI-ETB courses to help young players progress, whether it’s as a pro footballer or to get them to college.
"It’s worked out well for Matt and we’re delighted for him. This gesture he has now made via his agency will provide some great resources for the lads we have now who are looking to be the next Matt Doherty”.
The FAI-ETB course offers young male and female players an opportunity to combine their education and football development in their quest to map out a career in the game.
Established in 2004, schemes now operate in Dundalk, Limerick, Castlebar, Waterford, Blarney, Carrigaline, Clondalkin, Cabra, Irishtown and Tallaght.
The scheme was previously known as the FÁS course — with Roy Keane it’s most famous participant.