Cathal Heffernan, 16, joins AC Milan from Cork City

Cathal Heffernan
Cathal Heffernan was on trial in Milan last year

Republic of Ireland Under-17 captain Cathal Heffernan says “words can’t describe” how happy he is at joining AC Milan on loan from Cork City.

The 16-year-old defender, who made his senior Cork debut last year, has been on trial at the Serie A club.

It is expected that Heffernan will sign a permanent deal at the San Siro in the summer.

“Words can’t describe how happy I am. Can’t wait to get started and I’d like to thank all my family,” he said.

Heffernan joins fellow Ireland youth internationals Kevin Zefi (Inter Milan) and James Abankwah (Udinese) in Italy.

Heffernan’s father Rob, an Olympic bronze medallist in race walking, said: “Finally it’s official. So proud of you Cathal, this is only the beginning. Now it’s time to work.”

Cathal’s mother Marian competed in the women’s 4×400m relay at the London 2012 Olympics.

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