By Aaron Dunne
WHEN Tayo Adaramola’s parents made the huge decision to up sticks from Castleknock and set off for London in hopes of better opportunities for their son, they must have dreamt a day like last Saturday would come.
The former St Kevin’s Boy (18) was left ‘in shock’ by Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira’s decision to include him in his FA Cup squad – and he then got quite a land when the France legend called him off the bench to make his first-team debut in the 2-0 win over Hartlepool at Slehurst Park.
The Dublin defender came on for the last five minutes, becoming only the third Irish teenager to play for a Premier League side this season (Norwich’s Andrew Omobamidele and Brighton forward Evan Ferguson are the others).
Palace were already 2-0 up when Adaramola came on so the tie was won, but getting the call from Vieira for his debut was a vote of confidence for the Irish U-19 cap.
“I’m still shocked with everything that’s happened over the last week. I’m just happy that I’ve finally done this. I have been training with the first team for a while now, T [Tyrick Mitchell) is the only left back at the club so they need someone to step up and I have been doing that [training] for the past couple of weeks now,” Adaramola told Palace TV.
“I found out I was in the squad after training on Friday, it was a shock and I didn’t believe it. I tried to keep my routine as the usual, not to change anything. Right now I am enjoying my football, I have two great managers with the U23s and now with the gaffer in the first team, I am learning a lot every day, I am enjoying it, it’s the most I have ever enjoyed it.
“They kept telling me to stay really warm, I was there for so long I didn’t know what to do anymore but then the gaffer called me over and this time he said, get stripped, and I knew I was coming on for real. It’s a feeling I will never forget.”
Adaramola was capped for the first time at U-17 level in 2019, in a Euro qualifying win over Andorra, and is part of the Irish U19s side who have qualified for the Elite round of qualification for the 2022 Euro U19 finals, games against Portugal, England and Armenia on the way next month.
Meanwhile, the FAI has paid tribute to former association president and United Churches Football League (UCFL) stalwart David Blood who has sadly passed away at the age of 81.
A former President of the Leinster Football Association, David dedicated his life to the game and served as FAI President from 2005 to 2010.
Tayo Adaramola left Castleknock with his parents at the age of 11 to pursue a professional career in England, and the former St Kevin’s Boys star saw his dream come true on Saturday as he made his debut for Crystal Palace off the bench in the FA Cup
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