INTERNATIONAL DUTY David Hoban pictured in Italy last year after the Republic of Ireland qualified for the upcoming UEFA Regions Cup, with his wife Niamh and daughter Saoirse.
DAVID Hoban flies to Turkey today (Tuesday) as part of the Republic of Ireland amateur squad, who will begin their Uefa Regions Cup finals campaign next weekend.
Hoban is part of the 20-man Connacht-Munster panel announced by manager Gerry Davis earlier this month, having played his part in securing qualification in Italy last year. He’s only recently returned from injury, but is savouring the opportunity to represent his country.
Hoban has struggled with a hip problem which re-emerged last January, and wondered if he’d win his race to be fit in time to make the squad.
“In fairness to John [Brennan] in the club [Westport United], he gave me the time I needed,” the 34-year-old told The Mayo News. “I suppose he knew that this was playing on the back of my mind. It’s hard not to be thinking about it, because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing … especially when you’re from Connacht!”
The quantity surveyor with Walsh Associates is one of just two players from the western province to make the squad, alongside Conor Griffin of Sigo side Calry Bohs, with the rest all from Munster. Hoban, who scored in a recent friendly against Jersey and against North East Macedonia last year, is one of 16 players who was involved in the qualifiers to make the final cut.
The Irish lads begin their quest with a game against Russian representatives South Region next Saturday, July 1, then meet highly-rated Spanish side Castilla y Leon next Monday, July 3. Their final group game is against Czech team Olomouc on Thursday, July 6, with the group winners progressing to the final.
Hoban, who turned 34 earlier this month, says the squad will spend their first few days in Turkey ‘getting used to the heat’, and will be weighed after training sessions to monitor how they’re adapting. He can’t wait, and is thankful to all who have played their part in his life in football.
“It’s right up there,” says Hoban, reflecting on the highlights of his career. “Obviously, the [FAI] Junior Cup and the Connacht Cup would be the other ones, and it’s always nice to win with your friends … But for myself, personally, at this stage of my career, I’m delighted to get the recognition – and not just for me, for the club.”