]Dundalk under-19 striker Jack O'Keefe became an Internet sensation last August after his superb long range lob fired his side to the final of the Enda McGuill Cup at the expense of Cobh Ramblers.
He followed up the hype by scoring an extra-time winner against UCD in the final to ensure the young Lilywhites took the coveted trophy home.
It capped off a busy few weeks for the Meath student as he had only just started his degree course at DKIT under the Dundalk FC/DKIT Scholarship Scheme.
O’Keefe, who has been with the Oriel Park side since under-17 level, explained that general manager Martin Connolly had made him aware of the scheme while, after applying for the programme, he also had to sit an interview with his former under-17 coach, community development officer Liam Burns, before being accepted.
Speaking with extratime.ie, O’Keefe explained that students also attend workshops for their FAI coaching badges with FAI Regional Development Officer Mick Neville (who is also involved with Dundalk under-19s).
The clinical forward, who played in the Leinster Senior Cup for Dundalk in 2017, spoke about balancing college life with training and the support he receives from both club and college in helping him make progress both on and off the field.
He explained the important roles played by the Sports Officers in the college and how they assist with regards to attending lectures while also fitting in time for the college team.
Jack is a young player with the world at his feet and has made an important decision to continue with his education while trying to also develop in the National under-19 League.
He has recently been selected for the Irish Under 19 home based squad and will hopefully continue with his upward trajectory while also graduating with a third level degree in Sports Exercise and Business.
More information on the DKIT/Dundalk FC scholarship programme can be found here.