Whirlwind month for Alex winning silverware with Cliftonville U16s and Champions League in the wings

Alex Heaney with Cliftonville U18s All-Ireland Cup Winners Cup they won last week.Alex Heaney with Cliftonville U18s All-Ireland Cup Winners Cup they won last week.
Alex Heaney with Cliftonville U18s All-Ireland Cup Winners Cup they won last week.
​It's been quite a month for St Joseph's High School student Alex Heaney who has been doing his school, his family and his home town Newry proud with huge success on the football pitch for his team Cliftonville FC.

​The Newry Reporter spoke with Alex’s proud dad Gerry who explained his progress over the years, revealing the news that Alex has just been named on the Co. Down team for the SuperCup NI tournament that takes place in Derry this summer, and even bigger things on the cards with his club next season.

The 15-year-old lives and breathes football and not only soccer but GAA too, helping his school to their historic Pat King Cup win last year and also as a Newry Shamrocks club player.

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“He's always been into all sort of sports but he started off at around six years old with Windmill Stars and then Warrenpoint Town came looking to sign him when he was about 11. He won various cups with them and he was sent on a trial over to MK Dons in England,” said Gerry.

Alex Heaney with his Cliftonville U18 teammates after they won the All-Ireland Cup Winners Cup.Alex Heaney with his Cliftonville U18 teammates after they won the All-Ireland Cup Winners Cup.
Alex Heaney with his Cliftonville U18 teammates after they won the All-Ireland Cup Winners Cup.

There was a lot of traction around Alex at MK Dons but he was obviously too young to go over there on a full-time basis. However, it didn't take long for Alex' reputation to precede him back home and Cliftonville FC came calling last season.

“Rather reluctantly he left Warrenpoint with a lot of trepidation going to such a big club in Belfast, but luckily he seems to have slotted in very well with the guys at Cliftonville.”

Alex won the Northern Ireland Cup with the U16s. On the back of that the team were invited to play in an All Ireland Cup Winners Cup, where they played against the Southern Irish Champions, St Joseph's and they beat them 4-1 with Alex scoring the second goal.

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Alex, who has also represented the U18 team, will get the opportunity to play for Cliftonville U18s who start in the qualifying rounds of the Junior Champions League in Europe next season – a unique and unprecedented honour for a Newry lad.

“It's a fantastic chance to go travelling through Europe playing against some of the best teams in Europe out there,” said his dad.

Dedication to his sport takes a huge commitment from both Alex and his family, “he's costing me an absolute fortune in petrol driving up and down to Belfast four times a week for training and matches,” laughed Gerry who is happy to put in the miles to see his son succeed. He makes sure studies aren't neglected either, with all of the homework done before they hit the road.

“Thankfully he's got a sensible head on his shoulders and he knows he has to have an education as well and while he is really ambitious in terms of his footballing career, we're always trying to keep his feet on the ground.”

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Cliftonville have offered Alex a full-time scholarship with the club after he finishes his GCSEs next year and Linfield have also offered him the same.

The end goal for Alex of course is to keep progressing and go across the water and play in the Premiership, which is always a tough task but if you don't dream big it will never happen.

“He's promised me his first professional pay packet, so I hope it's a good one,” concluded Gerry with a laugh.

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