Jimmy Corcoran faced the toughest day of his young career yesterday.
The Preston North End goalkeeper was competing in the quarter-final of the under 17 European Championships as part of Colin O’Brien’s Ireland team.
The boys in green drew 1-1 with the Netherlands in regulation time, with a penalty shootout soon following. With the Irish missing their first penalty, Corcoran needed to save Daishawn Redan’s kick to keep the tie alive.
He did so in spectacular fashion, but was immediately brought back to Earth with a bang, receiving a second yellow card for moving off the line too early per the referee’s decision.
The penalty was forced to be retaken, which Redan did to see the Dutch advance to the semis.
The commentators, fans, and even senior Ireland manager Martin O’Neill were outraged at the decision.
The young man at the centre of the storm has now had his say, and in a brief statement he released on Twitter, the 16-year-old showed maturity beyond his years.
“As the dust settles on last night’s events, I would like to thank everyone for their support. My teammates, friends, family and so many in the sporting world have been unbelievable.
“Now it’s time to accept that although as cruel a blow as it was, the decision was correct and we will move on and learn from it to become stronger.
“Play the game, not the occasion.”
— Jimmy Corcoran (@jimmycorcoran28) May 15, 2018
Such an attitude will serve him well in the years to come, and much better days will lie ahead for Corcoran.