This week’s Friday Focus is 34 year old local man and Professional Goalkeeper Saul Deeney.   Born and bred in the heart of the community in Carrabane Walk, Saul is the son of the late Jackie Deeney and mum Rosie who still lives locally.   At a time when larger families were getting smaller, the Deeney’s bucked the trend having 13 children, at one point having 2 houses knocked into one-making a very special Shantallow home.

Attending Steelstown Primary School followed by St.Brigids High school in his teenage years, Saul turned his passion for Goalkeeping into a career, joining Notts County in 1999 at the tender age of 16.  As well as playing for Derby, Hull and current team Basford, Saul has played for the Republic of Ireland Under 21 squad and currently coaches the Notts County youth team.  Saul lives in Nottingham with his girlfriend Daisy.

How would you describe yourself? Very laid back.

Do you have a nickname? Just my family nickname, which is Burt. I don’t know why, but that’s what they all call me!

Living away from home at the minute, what do you miss most about Shantallow? For me, it’s my friends and family and being able to regularly see them all, as they all mostly live in the area.  And just being able to socialise with my friends, due to the disciplines of my job that’s something I have to sacrifice but it’s all part of getting to do the job I love.  There are no better people than those at home.

Looking back over career what’s your favourite funny story about yourself? I remember when I was really young and first got the chance to go to England.  I thought my family were coming too and I was really excited, but they just put me on a plane and sent me on and said good luck! It taught me independent living at a young age though so I’m thankful for that but at the time it was a shock.

Tell me something about yourself that people don’t know? I am now working with people with Alzheimer’s and Mental Health issues. It’s very tough and it’s a very sad illness that makes you appreciate the people around you more as you never know what could happen them or yourself down the line.

What makes you laugh? I love a good comedy film, or playing golf with people who can’t play as well as me!

What is the best compliment you have ever received? That I have a ‘never die’ attitude.  That’s important when you have setbacks,  which we all will.

Who would you most like to meet? Someone interesting, like David Blaine or a sporting role model like Gianluigi Buffon.

What’s your favourite way to relax? Playing golf or running.

What makes you happy? As I say, I’m very laid back so being relaxed and not stressed makes me happy. And food!

What makes you angry? No food! People giving up to early or easily, because we all have great potential.

High point of your life to date? Getting my first professional contract, I was so proud for myself and family.

What has been your low point? Without a doubt, losing my dad.

How would you like people to remember you? Just that I was hardworking, honest and kind.

What are your treasured possessions? I keep significant momentoes from my career so for me my treasured possessions are my signed shirts and goal keeper gloves.

What’s your motto?  Do your best, your best is always good enough. Don’t get worried that it won’t be enough and never ever be afraid to fail, that means you tried.  There will be setbacks and I had one when I had a great opportunity to further myself, by transferring to Derby FC however I got a serious injury and I was so disappointed that it was potentially ruining a big break.  At the same time, my father died and it just wasn’t meant to be but I took a lesson from it, and learned to bounce back and not let it eat me up.

What advice do you have for anyone back home aspiring to get into sports or football? If you do your best and stick at it, the right opportunities will eventually come your way because you were dedicated.  I’ve had tough times too and the journey wasn’t always straight forward, but be positive, it’s hard sometimes when you have knockbacks but something will eventually come through for you.