Stephen Ireland’s help and a resurrected deal – the background on Cathal Heffernan’s Milan move

By Oliver Fisher -

After a lot of back and forth and some nervous moments, Cathal Heffernan has finally sealed a dream move to AC Milan from Cork City.

According to, an agreement was struck between Cork City and the Rossoneri management yesterday which puts an end to ‘a saga that dragged on since Thursday’. He landed in Italy in the middle of last week with his family to finalise his move to Milan and he had the contracts in front to sign, but then negotiations between Milan and the Irish club hit a roadblock.

Heffernan and his representatives then had to head back to Ireland thinking that the move was completely off, but Milan made contact again on Friday afternoon and an agreement was finally reached between the two clubs on Sunday.

The 16-year-old will initially move to Milan on-loan until the summer and then it will become a permanent deal, with the Ireland U17 captain becoming the first player to sign from his country for the Rossoneri since Armagh native Paddy Sloan in 1948.

Not only that, but he is the third young Irish prospect to move to Italy as his U17 international team-mate Kevin Zefi and the U19 defender James Abankwah also swapped the League of Ireland for Serie A, with the former moving from Shamrock Rovers to Inter and the latter leaving St Patrick’s Athletic for Udinese.

Heffernan also attracted the interest of Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen and he comes from a sporting family given his parents are Olympians Marian and Rob Heffernan, while his sister Meghan plays for Cork City and Ireland at U19 level.

He trained last year with Milan, Juventus, Roma and Atalanta with the help of former Manchester City man Stephen Ireland.

READ MORE: Agent confirms Milan are ‘one of the clubs interested’ in Botman: “We will have to wait and see”

Tags AC Milan Cathal Heffernan
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