Well-intentioned folks around Castleisland told his parents, Eamon and Mary, that they were doing the wrong thing by entertaining their son’s ambitions of becoming a professional footballer. It was the only thing he wanted to do. And Eamon and Mary drove the youngest of their three children around the country to help him towards that mission. Ireland trials. Representative games. Whatever it took to push open the door. Sceptics looked at the stats and the evidence. Kerry produced players who thrived with a different brand of round ball. But professional football? No chance. “There would have been people going around saying to them, ‘Don’t go putting any ideas in his head that he’s going to England’,” says McLoughlin chuckling at the memory. However, they told their son that they believed in his ability. He will be forever grateful for that encouragement. McLoughlin is telling the story on Thursday, speaking over the phone from a bed and breakfast near AFC Wimbledon’s training base that is functioning as a temporary home following a January move from Ipswich. The 21-year-old knew he had to get out of Portman Road; a grand total of two senior appearances in five years just wasn’t enough. Without… Read full this story
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