Eddie Nolan’s father, Eddie snr, played hurling for Waterford and Roanmore so needless to say many ask the question why are his sons Eddie and Brian such fine footballers? Perhaps it is worth pointing out that their dad was a very good soccer player himself with Southend United so maybe that is where his sons got it from.

Brian was capped for the Republic of Ireland two months ago at Under 17 level and he also has a wonderful career ahead of him. He is also a very talented hurler with Roanmore. Perhaps you are now beginning to put the Nolan family picture together!

Eddie jnr, who’ll be 20 in August, played his local soccer with the Bohemians club in Ben Wadding Park and such was his class he was chased by a host of English clubs before he eventually signed for Blackburn Rovers. He is a brilliant defender and it came as no surprise that Don Givens appointed him captain of the Republic of Ireland side for the recent qualifying games in Malaysia and other places.

On the surface it is hard to imagine Eddie as a captain because he is an extremely quiet and unassuming young man. I met him on Saturday last as he joined in the support of the Waterford United direct debit scheme. He looked every inch a fine-tuned footballer: slim, fit and well groomed.

He looked back at the trip to Malaysia with mixed views. “I have a very good relationship with Don Givens and to be captain was great but five of us fell victim to sickness. We don’t really know what happened but the food there was strange and some of the lads also went down with the flu. We were glad to get away from the place and now we can look forward to more games in September.”

Mark Hughes has of course left Blackburn Rovers to take over at Manchester City and Eddie admits he will miss the former Manchester United player’s support. “I had great time for Mark Hughes and I was sorry to hear that he had left the club. He is a very good manager so perhaps it was only a matter of time that he moved on. He did a wonderful job at the club and I know the players will be sorry that he has moved on to Manchester City.

“He was very good to me and I owe him a lot. He always had faith in me and helped me very much. He put me in the first team squad and that boosted my confidence no end.”

Eddie was loaned out to Hartlepool United last season and played 16 games for them. “Danny Wilson is the manager there and they just missed out on promotion. They play lovely football and maybe that is why they just missed their target. I enjoyed it there as they are a good club.”

The situation with Blackburn Rovers, however, is utmost on his mind right now. “I have a year left on my contract at Ewood Park. At the moment the club are being linked with a number of different manager including Sam Allardyce and Paul Ince so I will just have to wait and see what happens when we return on July 7.”

The affable Pine Mews, Tycor native has a massive collection of underage international caps. When I asked him what his total was, he smiled, “I have no idea”. That is the kind of guy Eddie Nolan is. Down to earth and with no big-headed attitude. His parents, Eddie snr and Rosario are rightly very proud of him.