When Mario Götze scored Germany’s winner in the World Cup final against Argentina, Ciaran Gallagher would’ve let his mind wander.
Götze superbly swivelled and volleyed a centre from fellow substitute André Schürrle to score the only goal of the final at the Maracana in Rio de Janerio.
Six years ago, Derry City and former Finn Harps goalkeeper Gallagher played against the current Bayern Munich midfielder in an U-16 international friendly.
“When he came on the scene at Dortmund, I just saw it on twitter that he’s played against Ireland in Blarney,” Castlefin native Gallagher said this week.
“It clicked with me then that I’d played. There were a few from that day that are playing at a decent level nowadays.
“The German goalkeepkeeper was Marc-André ter Stegen, who only recently moved to Barcelona from Borussia Mönchengladbach for €12 million.
“Alexander Merkel has just joined Udinese in Serie A. We were playing against a good team at a decent standard.”
Vincent Butler’s U-16 Republic of Ireland side were defeated 1-0 by Germany in Blarney, Co Kerry, in April 2008.
Hertha Berlin striker Abu-Bakarr Kargbo got the goal in front of 1,500 at O’Shea Park.
Two days later, Ireland, with Monaghan’s Aaron McCarey in goal, managed a 1-1 draw with Sean Skelly scoring after Christopher-Massamba Mandiangu opened the scoring for Germany.
“When you play against good players like that you always keep an eye out,” Gallagher added.
“Gotze is quality. You can see the difference in the development over the last six years since he’s training professionally.
“At that time I was playing with Castlefin Celtic, training once a week, and maybe playing 15 or 20 times a season.
“He, on the other hand, was training six times a week and playing 35 times a season.
“Some of the younger lads in Germany are now getting that training from as young as the age of 12.”
Gallagher made his Finn Harps debut in 2009 before signing for Derry City last October.
“It’s six years since that match and they have probably had full time professional training everyday since then, while this is my first year in a professional environment but unfortunately that’s just the way it is in Ireland,” he said.
Gallagher was first capped at U-15 level for Ireland and recalls playing against FC Schalke’s Kyriakos Papadopoulos of Greece in a Euro U-17 qualifier.
The now 21-year-old Gallagher was, at 17, a substitute for Ireland U-19s as they faced a Belgium side that included Eden Hazard, the Chelsea midfielder.
“Now this has happened with Götze I must take a look back at some of the old team sheets for a nosey,” Gallagher added.
“I enjoyed the World Cup. As part of the goalkeepers’ union, it was great to see them going so well.
“Germany’s Manuel Neuer has got the sweeper-keeper down to a tee, even though he might leave you on the edge of your seat at times. Keylor Navas had a great competition with Costa Rica.”
Gallagher currently runs Ciaran Gallagher Elite Goalkeeping with training centres in Castlefin, Moville and Buncrana with Letterkenny and Sion Mills coming up over the summer.
“A lot of the young lads have made the step-up now to the Finn Harps academy, where there’s seven looking forward to the Foyle Cup and playing in the Milk Cup,” he said.
Gallagher will be part of the Derry City squad who are facing FC Shaktar Soligorsk from Belarus in the Uefa Europa League second qualifying round first leg at the Brandywell on Thursday.