Fermoy goalie Mike Devine called up to Over 40s Irish International Team
At a time when most players are hanging up their boots, if they haven't done so already, footballer Mike Devine is preparing to gear up with a new challenge.
Mike, a goalie with Fermoy Soccer Club, has been called up to the Irish Over 40s international squad. A number of former League of Ireland players came together to set up the international side. They now have official recognition from the FAI which could pave the way for some ex-senior international big name players joining up. It also means FAI caps will be handed out to the players for each match.
Mike, a native of Cobh, has enjoyed a distinguished footballing career. He began playing with Springfield FC in his home town, being capped at U15 and U16 levels. He then signed for English team Middlesbrough. He spent four years with them before moving to Newcastle United and then to non-league Northallerton. On his return to Ireland, he joined Cobh Wanderers, before going on to play with League of Ireland First Division club Cobh Ramblers.
In 1998, he joined League of Ireland Premier Division club Waterford United. He transferred from there to Cork City achieving a club record transfer fee of €30,000 at the time. He earned himself a reputation there as a fearless goalie, renowned for his unerring ability to stop shots and make spectacular saves. There was speculation for some time around the team's League of Ireland championship win in 2005 that he'd be called up for the senior Republic of Ireland team.
Mike returned to Waterford in January 2009 but made his way back to Cork City in 2010. He moved to live in Castletownroche after meeting and marrying his wife Natasha. He found himself playing with Fermoy Soccer Club after he met Derek Slattery who works with him at Lee Sports Distributors Ltd. in Wilton. Derek, himself a goalkeeper, introduced him to his brother Trevor, senior team joint manager with the Fermoy club.
Mike is relishing the thoughts of his first outing with the international over 40s team against the Czech Republic this Saturday. "I'm looking forward to it. The fitness is still there though you mightn't think it to look at me," he joked. He was pleased to get the call up he says and wants to play "while I still enjoy what I do." He knows most of his team mates from League of Ireland games.
Another match is lined up against Wales on Saturday, September 28. The proceeds of both games will go to Cystic Fibrosis Ireland. Both games will be played in Home Farm Football Club stadium in Dublin. Some famous international faces are expected at Home Farm with players such as ex-senior Czech Republic players Patrik Berger, Vladimir Simcer and Jiri Jarozik expected to feature. Mike will line out alongside players like Paul Byrne ex-Glasgow Celtic, Mark O'Neill ex-Leyton Orient FC and Shamrock Rovers and Eddie Gormley, ex-Spurs and St Patrick's Athletic.
Irish team manager and former Irish player, Mick Byrne, says the team is about "giving our fellow professional footballers at the age of 40 plus a purpose for keeping fit and healthy, whilst supporting a great cause."
Mike has suffered three serious injuries during his football career, the most recent a shoulder injury which he says he's recovered well from. Broken fingers don't count, he says, it was a case of strapping them up, taking painkillers and playing on!
Mike has been training with his Fermoy team ahead of his international team debut and also with the help of Paul Howard of Rejuvenate Health and Fitness, Fermoy. This week he extended special thanks to his wife Natasha for her support and to Derek and Trevor Slattery and his clubmates at Fermoy Soccer Club.
"We're delighted and honoured that he has been rewarded by being called up to the international side. He has been superb for us for the last three years. We were promoted and it's down to Mike," Trevor Slattery told The Avondhu. Club members are "thrilled" he said and a group is planning to head up to Dublin to see him play on Saturday.
Friday 13th September 9:32am