Howe far can she go?

By · April 24, 2014 · Filed in News
By Sammy Martin s Young Casey Howe has a passion for football.  Its her favourite sport. She is totally in love with the game. She is now a fully devoted enthusiast. And her blossoming talent and determination has won a golden trip that will increase her zeal for soccer, if indeed that’s possible, and will undoubtedly help to gear her for the increasing demands and the never-ending experience that all budding stars need during formative years. This weekend as a member of Ballinamallard Boys FC team Casey’s off to the youth academies of two of the most famous football clubs in England, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers, to compete against the best they have on offer. To complete a feverish weekend, she will attend the vital Premier League game between Manchester United and Norwich City. Casey became attracted to football nearly three years ago when she was nine-years-old. She joined Ballinamallard Football Club and quickly became a hard-working, fully committed member. Always keen to learn she never missed a training session and was soon distinguishing herself with a host of outstanding performances Her growing ability was identified at a Nutty Crust Summer Camp, run by Northern Ireland Development Officer Stephen Erskine. “Casey was very impressive,” recalls Stephen. “She was fiercely enthusiastic, competitive and eager to do well. She was a wholehearted participant. I had no hesitation in nominating her for a place in the ‘Search for a Star’ event.” Nearly 2,500 children around Northern Ireland usually attend the annual Nutty Crust Summer Camps. Fifty are then chosen to compete for a year-long contract with Adidas. Casey was one of just two girls to make the cut. In February 2013 she was selected to join the Boys Excellence Programme, supervised by Stephen Erskine. Here the top talent in Northern Ireland is invited to receive Excellence Training. Following this Casey was accepted into the Girls Excellence Programme at Mid Ulster Sports Arena. In May 2013 she joined Mid Ulster Ladies Football Club, which competes in the Premier Division of the Northern Ireland Women’s Football League. Encouraged by knowledgeable and diligent coaches she excelled, her exhilarating progress delighting her mentors. It wasn’t surprising that she was picked for the Club’s U-13 team and played a huge part in helping her side win the Concentrix U-13 League in July 2013. At the end of the tournament she was awarded the Player of the Week.   casey team   Casey (Back row far right) along with her Club team-mates and the 2103 U13 Mid Ulster League Cup Casey then started to train and play with the Ballinamallard Boys FC squad where coach, Joe Corcoran, identified her potential and has developed and encouraged her at every opportunity. “A star in the making,” says Joe. “Her energy, her endless enthusiasm is contagious. And she can play a bit too! She's a wonderful, young player who is increasingly getting better. Depending on what lies ahead for her, she can become an outstanding football player.” Last August Casey and her Mid Ulster teammates took part in the Speers Cup in Armagh where she went on to score eight goals in one game and received the Managers’ Player of the Tournament Award. She was then selected from over 2500 participants to take part in the IFA ‘Search for a Star’ for a second year, a very rare achievement. She is the only girl ever to get selected twice. search for a star 2013 Search for a Star Finals And in October she picked up another honour when Mid Ulster Ladies Football Club presented her with the Most Improved Player Cup. Two months later she was a member of the Mid Ulster Ladies U-13 team that reached the semi-finals of the Belfast League, beaten only by eventual winners Crusaders. At the start of the new year Casey was still in the thick of the action and still catching the eye. She ended up as Mid Ulster Ladies U-13’s top scorer as they reached the semi-finals of the Futsal League. In February she was chosen to captain Enniskillen Model School Boys football team and led the side to victory in the Fermanagh & Western Schools Indoor 5-A-Side Football Tournament. school   Enniskillen Model School Winning 5-a-side Tournament.  Captain Casey Howe   L ast month she again captained Enniskillen Model School Boys, this time in an outdoor 7-a-side Fermanagh Schools tournament. Eight schools took part and her team remained unbeaten in their seven games. Casey was awarded Player of the Tournament from the 77 boys and 3 girls competing.   7-a-side Player of the Tournament ‘Golden Boot’ Award.   Casey’s family support is rock solid. She has to travel every week from Maguiresbridge to Cookstown and dad Mark, a former Ulster rugby player, mum Vikki, a busy childminder who is currently involved in a Level 1 course, and brother Alex, a budding rugby star are a constant source of encouragement and they make sure Casey gets every opportunity to develop her skills at the sport she loves most. “I love playing football,” enthuses Casey. “Ever since I started playing I really enjoy it. I want to continue playing and hopefully reach a standard that will enable me to play at the highest level in Northern Ireland ladies football and maybe beyond. I have to thank everyone, especially my mum, dad and brother, who have helped and encouraged me over the past three years. They have all been great. I look forward to heading to Cookstown on Monday nights to Mid Ulster Ladies training and whilst all my team-mates are amazing I have also greatly benefitted from the coaching of Noel Mitchell and Clare Charles. At last year’s awards service I was delighted to get an award and it was totally amazing to get it presented to me by Simone Magill – who as a young girl played for Mid Ulster and who now plays for Everton Ladies. I hope that someday I get the opportunity to play professionally”.   Mid Ulster Ladies chairperson Elaine Junk said “Although Casey is still in her football infancy don’t be surprised if this pleasant young talented girl becomes a well-known household name in Womens Football in the many years ahead. At Mid Ulster Ladies we will always try to provide excellent coaching, facilities and good progression opportunities for all our girls to ensure that we help them to be the best that they can be”. simone 2013 Mid Ulster Ladies ‘Most Improved Junior Player’ Casey Howe receives her award from Simone Magill Everton Ladies (ex Mid Ulster Ladies FC)