As soon as Caolan Lavery received a letter from the Irish Football Association confirming his senior call-up, he immediately broke the good news to his parents.
“My mum and dad were the first people I told; they were delighted for me,” said the Owls striker. “My mum was really happy and my dad said to me ‘well, you better start training harder then’!”
Brought up in Canada by Irish parents, Caolan, who has three brothers and two sisters, keeps in touch with his family via long-distance telephone calls. He speaks to them a couple of times a week, having left his family home in Red Deer, Alberta, to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer at the tender age of 16.
The Lavery family have been through a lot together. Fifthteen months ago, Caolan dedicated his double strike in Wednesday’s 4-1 victory over Birmingham City to his mum, Moia, who had just been released from hospital following a cancer scare.
Caolan said: “She [Moia] was ill in 2014 and I basically missed half of last season due to my knee injury so it means the world to me and my family to get recognised at international level. It is a nice feeling for myself and my family overall.”
It was just over a week ago Caolan discovered he had been named in Michael O’Neill’s 28-man group for their friendly against Qatar and European Championship 2016 qualifier with Romania. Having previously represented Northern Ireland at Under-19 and Under-21 level, Caolan is in contention to win his first cap versus Qatar this Sunday.
He said: “I was absolutely buzzing after hearing I was in the squad. It has been a goal of mine as long as I can remember to play for the national team.”