Cardinal O'Brien with Fr Simon Harkins and his loving parents Jim and Betty Harkins
The Republic of Ireland has discovered another Catholic boy called Keane from Manchester United – after Roy Keane – in the form of St Bede’s College sixth-form pupil Michael Keane.
Michael, whose roots stem from Crumlin in Dublin, plays in a similar defensive role for the Republic as his famous predecessor, Roy.
He is currently on an extended part-time schoolboy scholarship with United while he finishes his A-levels in physics, chemistry and biology at St Bede’s.
Michael was recommended to Ireland by his former United team-mate and Ireland under-17 captain Sean McGinity.
In the recent European Championships, Michael played against Finland and Austria, helping to secure two impressive victories.
“I am absolutely delighted to be selected to play for Ireland,” said Michael. “It has always been my dream to play international football.”
He is progressing well at United and has already been selected to play in two reserve games against Premiership opposition.
Steve Fallon, director of football, whose Irish roots stem from Mayo and Galway, said: “The college is delighted that Michael has been selected to represent Ireland.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for him. The college has a long and proud connection with the Republic of Ireland and Premiership clubs such as Manchester United and City.
“It started in the 1940s when the famous Republic of Ireland and United captain Johnny Carey came and coached the boys.
“It is good to see the link continuing to the present day with students like Michael becoming one of the first students to represent Ireland while still being a student at the college.
“He has done extremely well this year in managing his academic studies while still making good progress at United and now for Ireland.”