ONE DAY at school in Moville Community College towards the end of 2013, Eimear Reddin’s phone started hopping.
As it was during class time, the phone would have to stay unanswered on silent for the time being but it rang and rang and rang.
“When I got out at lunchtime, I had loads of missed calls,” Eimear (pictured above right with friends Nicole McDermott, who plays for Moville GAA Club and Donegal ladies and Roma McLaughlin, a Republic of Ireland U-19 international from Greencastle FC), now 17, said this week. “I knew I was either in trouble or someone was dead!
“A letter arrived in the post when I was at school and mammy saw ‘American Scholarship’ on it. She panicked a bit and tried to contact me but I was in class.
“At lunchtime I spoke with her and she said ‘you never told me or your daddy that you were doing anything like this.'”
That day wasn’t long after Eimear was in career guidance class, where, like her classmates in pre-Leaving Cert year, she was surveying her options.
“I was on the internet and was googling things like ‘how to get a scholarship’ and it came up asking for name, email address and phone number, so i just put it in,” she said.
“I didn’t know if anything was going to come out of it. I didn’t really tell anyone or think much of it.
“Then, a couple of days later, I got the letter in the post about the opportunities they had on offer, with past pupils on about the courses.”
A daughter of Anne-Marie McColgan and Don Reddin from Muff, Arsenal supporter Eimear loved football from an early age. She lined out with Quigley’s Point Swifts until the age of 12.
But with no girls’ team afterwards, she then transferred to Illies Celtic in Buncrana, continuing to learn her trade under John Doherty and Denis McGonigle and, as a right-midfielder, represented both Inishowen – where she played for Diarmuid O’Brien’s team who won the Gaynor Cup for the cream of the country’s U-14s in 2011 – and Ulster.
(Eimear Reddin, bottom right, with the Inishowen squad)
That love of the sport and that letter in the post started the ball rolling and tomorrow, Eimear will fly out of Dublin airport for a connection in New York and onto Virginia, where she will undertake and degree in Athletic Training on a four-year scholarship at Averett University.
The next four years will largely be filled with physiotherapy, sports rehabilitation, placements and football. This week Eimear was spared the panic of the CAO offers for those students who will continue their education following their Leaving Cert closer to home. She had the groundwork in place months ago.
“I didn’t have to worry too much about the CAO offers as I’ve been sorted since the start of the year,” Eimear added. “I got a few offers from different colleges in America so had to decide on which one to choose.
“First of all, I’d to go to Scotland to Toryglen, Glasgow, last Easter for an interview to see if I would qualify for a scholarship. Then, last Christmas I went to QPR’s training ground in London for a trial with a crowd of girls – 22 girls who were a crowd of strangers.
“I was the only Irish girl there, as all the rest were English. But it went good and I went with Virginia really because of the smaller size of the university. Smaller classes are better as I might’ve been overwhelmed in a bigger university.”
This week, Eimear’s prom doubled as her going away party at the Redcastle Hotel on Wednesday evening. There, she said goodbye to her friends until she sees them again in mid-December when she returns having completed her first semester in Virginia.
“Mum is coming over with me for the first week until I settle in and everyone has been very good to me,” Eimear said. “Thanks to all my friends and family. I’m excited; a little nervous but excited to see the university now and meet the team.”Tags: