Football’s Next Star

Nicky presented the RTÉ reality TV show, Football’s Next Star, in October 2012. The show saw 10 young footballers battling it out to win the one coveted spot in Celtic Football Club’s prestigious Youth Academy.

Hundreds tried out, with the search narrowing down finally to just 10 young footballers aged between 16 and 17. The final group travelled to Glasgow, where they trained intensively for a month, experiencing first-hand the life of a professional footballer.

The series saw the young footballers develop and hone their skills, while working with some of the best football coaches in Ireland and the UK. Neil Lennon, legendary manager of Celtic, worked closely with the young hopefuls. So too did Chris McCarthy, Head of Celtic’s Youth Academy.

Nicky proved to be the perfect host for the show. Not only does he have a huge interest in soccer, and especially Celtic (having supported them from a young age), he was also signed to Leeds United at the young age of 17. He remained there until his contract ended two years later.

Speaking of his experience presenting the show, Nicky said; “Football’s Next Star is a huge opportunity for every young Irish soccer fan to achieve his dream of playing professional football. I had an absolutely amazing experience shooting the series which was my first ever TV project and I’m very proud to say we really did unearth a true gem in our winner.”

Gareth McDonagh was this ‘gem’, winning the competition and securing himself a spot on Celtic’s Youth Academy. As of July 2013, Gareth has also been asked to stay on with the club.