03 April, 2011

"Soccer saved me from jail:"

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WINTER OF CONTENT for new St. Patricks' Athletic signing Daryl Kavanagh - with thanks to the Professional Footballer's Association of Ireland (PFAI)

"The (international) tournament was so professional - it was such a buzz. You felt you were part of something and that alone drives you on," - Daryl Kavanagh

The recent winter tournament for out of contract Irish professional footballers has proved a resounding success with a number getting contracts with new clubs.
Few are more grateful for the tournament than Daryl Kavanagh. The Clonmel native was at a crossroads in his life until finding direction with the FIFPro Winter Tournament in Norway two months ago. 
The 24 year-old has candidly gone on record recently detailing his troubled past involving alcohol, drugs and crime.
"I have committed crimes - I haven't been a law abiding citizen. I got into drink and drugs. I just fell into it. If it wasn't for soccer, I'd be in prison now," says Kavanagh with remarkable honesty after securing a contract with Dublin's St. Patrick's Athletic. He secure the contract on the back of being Player of the Tournament at the Four Nations Tournament involving Irish, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish players who were out of contract. Ireland didn't win the tournament but Kavanagh still earned rave reviews.

 "If the PFAI do the winter training camp (for out of contract players) next winter, they better be prepared because lads will be knocking down the door!"

"There was an eight week training camp before the
tournament which was really professional. The training would have been enough but to represent Ireland was something very special for me," Kavanagh added.
It took Kavanagh just five days to find a new club after he participated in the FIFPro Winter Tournament. The Irish forward signed a contract at Saint Patrick’s Athletic  from Dublin.
In January, Daryl Kavanagh was named Most Valuable Player of the FIFPro Winter Tournament in Oslo. The 24-year old centre forward impressed in games with the team of the Irish professional footballers’ association, Team PFAI. The tournament was  specifically for players who were out of contract with their clubs.
Saint Patrick’s  manager Pete Mahon said he was delighted to include Kavanagh in his squad for the 2011 season; ‘He’s a player I would have known about for some time but he would have come to prominence recently with the PFAI team that went to Norway’, Mahon told on the Saints’ website.
The slogan says it all
Mahon added: ‘We’ve gone to a lot of effort to sign him, but I feel he is the kind of player that will definitely enhance our squad, he’s still only 24 but he’s already had five or six years’ experience in the league and he can play either up front or out wide on the right.’
Last season Kavanagh played for Waterford United and Limerick, both teams from the second league and is very pleased to have signed a new two year deal with Pat's on a professional contract. Kavanagh finished by saying: "If the PFAI do the winter training camp (for out of contract players) next winter, they better be prepared because lads will be knocking down the door!"
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