BRANDON KAVANAGH has the skill and tight control of a PlayStation footballer – and he does his best to stay away from the game console.
Classy playmaker Kavanagh, 22, could be one of the stars of Sunday’s FAI Cup final when his Derry City take on Shelbourne.
He’s in fine form, with three goals in the past two months, while his eye for the pass and bag of tricks make him a player who puts fans on the edge of their seat, just like his heroes.
Kavanagh said: “I would base my game on Wes Hoolahan because he’s central and the way he takes the ball, on the half-turn, we’re sort of similar.
“I was never indoors on a PlayStation until I was older at 16. I was in a professional environment back when you trained in the morning and it was your way of relaxing, getting ready for the next day.
“You don’t see many kids these days with a soccer ball. That’s all I’ve done. Two or three balls on the road, even alone kicking against the wall, thinking of playing here.
He did it all dreaming of becoming a footballer for days like Sunday.
Kavanagh added: “It was the dream when we were younger and we all have a chance on Sunday to live that dream.
“You don’t think about anything else, like who you’re playing in front of, just almost ‘How do I get here?’
“Having a football at your feet all day was the only way to help you.”
He has appeared in the Cup final before, having been an unused substitute when Shamrock Rovers beat Dundalk in 2019.
But it was when he left the Hoops – initially on loan for Bray Wanderers, then permanently last winter for Derry City – that he took a new step in his career.
He said: “It was a tough decision, but for me, to play, to get the most out of my career, the best was to go to Derry.
“I believe in myself. For me, it wasn’t about someone else’s decision or what people thought. It was about how I could improve and that was the decision taken.
“I had a good season overall, playing a lot of games early on before we had that dip where we lost a lot of points.
“I’ve scored three goals in my last four games. I can’t be in better shape than the one coming.