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RTE Television

Football's Next Star

It's the opening episode of Football's Next Star and the excitement is building! Hundreds of budding young football stars from around Ireland have the opportunity of a lifetime to win a place at Celtic FC's prestigious Youth Academy and the battle commences this October on RTÉ Two.

Celtic FC manager Neil Lennon has sent his coaches over to Ireland with the tough task of choosing only ten young hopefuls from the thousands that entered Football's Next Star. These ten hopefuls will then move to Glasgow to try and impress the world renowned Celtic Academy coaches with a series of tough training sessions and a sliding scale of tough football fixtures, where they'll have to play to keep their place on the team.

They will eat, sleep and breathe football and get a real taste of what it is like to be a professional footballer.It won't be easy though! Only one boy can win a place at the Celtic Youth Academy so every week one contestant is sent back home. The pressure will be on for top-notch performances.

Episode 1

The opening episode follows the open trials held throughout the country where we meet the passionate young footballers all vying for a place in the next round. Will it be Patrick from Waterford who pushed through an injury at the trials to keep going? Will Ryan from Dublin manage to secure his place in the next round or will Darragh from Cork beat him to it? Tune in to see the results of the open trials and meet the footballers who have made it through to the next trial at the Aviva Stadium, where they will be put through their final paces before finding out who is hitting the road to Glasgow.

Episode 2

It's Episode Two of Football's Next Star and it's the home of Irish football, the Aviva Stadium, which plays host to the final trial. Here, the 40 remaining contestants will battle it out on the pitch for a place in the final ten. Only ten will travel to Glasgow to live and train like true professionals at Celtic FC. Only ten will take one step closer to the grand prize - a coveted place at Celtic's prestigious Youth Academy.

This week sees the 40 contestants try their utmost to impress the football coaches from Celtic FC including Chris McCarthy, Head of Celtic's Youth Academy, and go through to the next stage of the competition. We join the nervous contestants in the Aviva Stadium, where they battle it out to become one of the final ten.

Split into two teams, the footballers play their best and are whittled down to twenty finalists. The twenty finalists then play a nerve wrecking match and anxiously await the final decision to see who will be going home and who will be heading to the bright lights of Celtic Park, Glasgow!

In tonight's episode, we meet Jason Murray from Dublin, who was told he might never walk and was wheelchair-bound until he was eight years old. Will Jason have what it takes to make it to Glasgow? Evan Shine from Limerick impressed the coaches at the earlier trials but has he done enough to get through? We also catch up with from Tiernan McNicholl from Belfast, who has brought three generations of his Celtic mad family to cheer him on, to see if his dreams of playing for Celtic FC will come true.

Tune in to see who makes it to the final ten and who will be packing their bags for Glasgow and competing to become Football's Next Star!

Episode 3

It's Episode Three of Football's Next Star, and we join the 10 lucky finalists as they travel to Glasgow, the home of Celtic FC. After tearful farewells at Dublin airport, the boys are thrown straight into training at Celtic's Youth Academy, Lennoxtown, and play their first session for the Celtic FC coaches as soon as they step off the plane!

But it's not all hard work, as the boys get to live like star footballers in a mansion in the Scottish countryside! They also get to see their idols, Celtic FC's first team, play a major match in Celtic Park and get star struck as they receive an inspirational pep talk from the Celtic manager Neil Lennon.

After three tough days of training, presenter Nicky Byrne pays them a surprise visit and explains their first major trial - the boys will play their first competitive match for Celtic FC that evening and the pressure for an outstanding performance will really be on!

Some of the boys will be in the 'Danger Zone' while they are playing; meaning their future at Celtic FC is hanging in the balance. Immediately after the game is over, one of the boys will be sent home, his dream of playing for Celtic FC crushed. Will the pressure get too much for some?

Tune in to see who makes it through the first tough week at Celtic FC and who will have to hang up his Celtic jersey for good.

Episode 4

It's Episode Four of Football's Next Star and we join the boys as they recover from their first competitive match and first elimination with a 'refreshing' dip in the Academy's ice baths. Avoiding taking the icy plunge, is Man of the Match Patrick who gets to hang out with the Celtic FC first team as his reward, as well as pick his favourite housemate to stay in a five star resort!

The boys learn how eating well is just as important as their soccer drills as they learn to cook like true soccer professionals! Naseem leads the boys in the kitchen as Head Chef that night.and it doesn't quite go according to plan!

But it's back to business for the lads with two tough training sessions ahead of their next game. The pressure creeps in as all the boys struggle in their training session and the Celtic coaches aren't impressed. To their shock, the boys discover that after their second match not one but two of the contestants will be sent home!

Tune in to see who makes it through this tough time and who has to hang up their jersey!

Episode 5

It's Episode Five of Football's Next Star and the boys are recovering from their gruelling second match. Once again, Nicky is on hand to mentor and support the young finalists as they get put through their paces at Celtic FC.

In an effort to get our boys to work together more as a team, the Celtic FC coaches decide it would be a useful exercise for our players to coach the under-10 Celtic FC players. and the little players have some fancy footwork that put our boys to shame! Nicky Byrne joins in the fun and shows his competitive streak before being put through his paces as team goalie!

On their all-important recovery day, 'man of the match' Eoin takes Gareth out go-karting while the rest of the boys take a relaxing fishing trip - a first for some! They bring their catch home and enjoy a late night dance-off before the next trial kicks in.

The next training session is their toughest yet as they are thrown in with the under-19 Celtic FC squad. The boys have to learn to work as a team again and to keep encouraging one another to raise team spirit. They start to work well together but who will be safe and who will be in the danger zone?

The boys face Edinburgh rivals Hibernian FC and our young footballers are put through the wringer with Hibs playing a very physical game. Between injuries and some surprising developments, the Celtic FC coaches can see who is cracking with the pressure and who is really starting to shine.

Tune in to see which of our footballers can handle the pressure and who has to say goodbye to his dreams at Celtic FC!

Episode 6

It's episode six of Football's Next Star and it's straight back to training for the boys after their last competitive match. The lads are thrown into the deep end as they join the players who are on the fringes of Celtic's first team for their training session. Nicky doesn't get off scot free though! Celtic manager Neil Lennon spies him hiding and orders him to join the lads on the pitch!

Just in case the boys are getting any grand ideas living the superstar footballer lifestyle, they are brought back down to earth with a bump after training. Celtic's first team has just finished on the pitches and their muddy boots need to be spotless pronto.

On their all-important recovery day, Kevin takes Joey to do a spot of sightseeing in Edinburgh and get a taste of the Scottish lifestyle - sampling the traditional Scottish delicacy of haggis and trying their hand at wearing kilts - much to the delight of the Scottish ladies! Meanwhile, the rest of the boys learn how to do their stretches and poses in their first yoga lesson, much to their amusement!

However, things get serious for the lads as after their next match with Alloa Athletic not one, but two players face elimination. Only four players will make it through to the next round and this pressure on the boys shows in their performance with injuries and illness hampering the lads.

Determined to do their best, the boys push through and win the match comfortably. Their talent is really shining through and the coaches face their toughest decision so far in the competition. So tough in fact, they can't make up their minds and decide to sleep on it! With tension riding high in the household, the boys can barely wait until the next day to find out their fate.

Who will make it through to the next round and who will have to say goodbye so close to the finals?

Episode 7

It's the penultimate episode of Football's Next Star and we join the remaining four boys as they battle it out for a place in the final!

Before they face into their next gruelling challenge, Nicky Byrne arranges a couple of surprises, including a trip to Old Trafford, home of Manchester United. What's more, legendary former Celtic and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given makes a surprise appearance. To their delight, the four lads get to have dinner with Shay and ask him questions about his early footballing days.

As part of their preparation for life as a professional footballer, the boys learn that Celtic are not only looking for the complete player on the pitch but off the pitch also. They tackle the challenge of learning how to deal with the pressures of the media and face a grilling from a tough and inquisitive sports journalist. However, while they appear confident on the pitch, it's an entirely different ball game when they are faced with a microphone!

But it's soon back to what they do best as the four remaining finalists head down south where horrendous weather conditions could affect their chances of winning a place in the final. Their match against Sunderland results in a 4:4 draw but who impressed the coaches and who failed to live up to expectations?

Tune in to see who makes it through to the grand final as four become three in Football's Next Star.

Football's Next Star
  • RTÉ Two, Friday, 5.00pm