LOI Rising Stars: Shelbourne magician Jad Hakiki

Ireland underage forward Jad Hakiki is making a name for himself at Shelbourne.

This time last year Damien Duff was managing Shelbourne’s under-17 League of Ireland side with a 16-year-old Jad Hakiki starring in attack.

Fast forward twelve months and Duff is Shels’ senior manager, the club have just won four consecutive Premier Divison fixtures for the first time in 16 years and Hakiki has played a big role in that success.

The Ireland U18 international started the club’s last two games versus St Patrick’s Athletic and UCD, making a huge impression with his tidy footwork on both occasions.

The tide seems to have turned at Tolka Park as they now sit at sixth in the league table and, with talented youngsters like Hakiki and Jack Moylan leading the way, they could be in for an exciting second half of the season.

Jad Hakiki on playing senior LOI football.

“I’m just happy I’m getting into the team more and more,” the 17-year-old told the 1985 Post-Match Show after Shels’ 2-0 victory over UCD on Monday night.

“I’m obviously adapting to the physical aspect of going from the 19s to the first-team, that’s the main thing, but I think I’m handling it well enough.

“It means everything [to get] four wins in a row like. The gaffer was saying it hasn’t been done for 16 years so to be a part of that – it means a lot.

“The two games I’ve played were two wins so I can’t be any more happy with that.  The fans and everything, you just don’t get that with the 19s. Coming into the first team with all the fans is amazing.”

Hakiki hails Duff after four wins on the trot.

Former Ireland star Duff has been a major influence on Hakiki’s career to date and for the time being is telling the schoolboy to ‘express himself’ as much as he possibly can at League of Ireland level.

So far, Hakiki has done just that to great success and couldn’t be happier playing under his manager and the rest of the Shelbourne coaching staff.

“The staff are unbelievable,” he beamed. “Like I had a few of the staff  [before] like the gaffer and Alan Quinn so they’re unbelievable with all the training sessions and preparation for the match and stuff. You can’t ask for better staff.

“They tell me to express myself and they don’t put too much pressure on me so I can express myself as best as I can.”

Hakiki signed his first professional contract with Shelbourne last December after a remarkable season for their underage sides in 2021.

The former Bray Wanderers prospect also has international ambitions and scored for the Ireland U18s against Malta last December.

Perhaps Ireland U19 action will be next on his radar, and as long as he’s making history for this fascinating Shelbourne team he’ll have a fine chance of making the grade.

For extensive coverage of Ireland’s best up and coming prospects follow Kenny’s Kids on Twitter. 

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