As kids, we all at one point or another dreamt of becoming a professional footballer. Hours are spent in the back garden trying to emulate Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. The chance quite often never presents itself to most kids, but to the fortunate few it's an opportunity to be grasped firmly with both hands. Chris Curran had that opportunity when he was offered to join the club he supported as a boy, Manchester United. Although his time there was cut short with injury, he has persevered when others would have turned their back on the game after facing such a disappointment. Now in the NIFL Premiership, he has enjoyed a hugely successful career in the North of Ireland with Cliftonville FC where he captains the side. This week we went ClubSpotting with Chris Curran.
What are your earliest memories of your first sports club?
My earliest memories of my first sports club were playing GAA with Swanlinbar u10s, my local club. My dad was the manager so I was keen to get involved from day one. I was only a toddler when I started out. Probably around 6. I know now there are underage groups like u8s for example but back then it only went down to u10s and I had no patience to wait too long!
Who were your sporting idols growing up?
Growing up my sporting Idols would have been a mixture of Ireland and Man United players as well as Cavan players. So Roy Keane was obviously a massive one. I loved Ryan Giggs as well. On the Cavan front, I enjoyed watching Larry Reilly and goal scorers like Jason Reilly.
What has been the proudest moment of your playing career?
The proudest moment of my playing career so far would have to be winning a league title with Cliftonville. On the day we lifted the league title we were playing our North Belfast rivals Crusaders. I managed to score a hat-trick that day with my family in attendance so that would have to be my proudest moment to date.
Toughest opponent you have faced?
Toughest opponent domestically would have to be Crusaders. We've had some great battles over the years and I'm sure that will continue to be the case. I've been lucky enough to play in Europe a few times and actually made my debut against Celtic. So they would have to be the best team I've played against up to this point.
Best player you have played with?
Best player I have played with would be Liam Boyce. Liam made the players around him better and I was one of those players. He was too good for the Irish league and quickly moved across the water where he has had an outstanding career.
Any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
I am a little bit superstitious. In terms of pre-game rituals, lots of little things. I'll try and keep the same routine, sit in the same place, drink the same drinks, etc. I have to put my shin pads on in the right order. Left first, then right. So people might find that odd.
What are your hopes and ambitions with Cliftonville for 2022?
I think every season you want to improve on the year before. So I'd like us to improve on our points total from last season and I'd like to see us qualify for Europe again as it's been a couple of years now since we have managed to do that.
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