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The Déise's Paul Whyte was one of five future stars on the Irish U15 team in 2007

The man who rescued Waterford last weekend played alongside future GAA, rugby and soccer stars with the Ireland team.

AFTER HIS DRAMATIC equalising point against Clare last weekend, Paul Whyte is the man responsible for Waterford’s continued existence in this year’s Munster championship.

Ahead of Saturday’s replay we had a look at the talented full forward’s sporting background. Whyte represented the Irish soccer youth team alongside a number of future pros including Sunderland’s John Egan and League of Ireland stars such as Daryl Horgan.

But here are the five players we’ve selected from Vincent Butler’s U15 squads in 2007 who have already had a major impact on Irish sport.

1. Paul Whyte

The 22-year-old former Irish soccer player has been a member of the Waterford senior football panel since the age of 17.

Paul Whyte successfully converts the free into another point Whyte takes a free from the ground for Waterford. Source: Gerry McManus/INPHO

Last year he hit eight points against Galway in the qualifiers (when Waterford ran the Tribesman to within a point) and at just 17 he was the top scorer in the Waterford senior championship.

The University of Limerick student (and Sigerson Cup star) represented the Irish soccer team up to the U17 grade. The centre forward scored against Poland in a 4-2 win in 2009.

Paul Whyte Paul Whyte's FAI headshot. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

2. Jeff Hendrick

The Derby County youngster now has seven senior Irish caps as he begins to establish himself as a top quality central midfielder for both club and country.

Back in 2007 though Jeff was more of a right back, where he featured most often for the DDSL Kennedy Cup winning team in 2005.

At the time he was behind the likes of Danny Joyce (former Brays, Bohs and Reading) and Kevin O’Brien (who captained those teams and is now also with Derby County) in the the international pecking order.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal with Jeff Hendrick Up against Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal on Tuesday night. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

3. Robbie Brady

Robbie was the star player at this grade from the off. A long with Danny Joyce he was also a member of the U16 squad in 2007, and it didn’t take long for Manchester United to snap him up.

Robert Brady A younger Robbie Brady in 2007. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Like Jeff Hendrick he’s a graduate of the St Kevin’s Boys team in North Dublin, and with his six international senior caps he is now a regular premier league starter with Hull City.

4. John Heslin

The Westmeath midfielder is one of the top young footballers in the country. He’s been playing at midfield for his county’s senior team since the age of 18, while he also had a stint in Australia with AFL club Richmond Tigers in 2012.

Heslin was another member of the Irish U15 soccer team to catch the eye of Derby County scouts, and he attended a trail with the club in 2007. Heslin was a strker, who led the North Dublin league team to the Kennedy Cup final in 2007. The Cherry Orchard schoolboy has also represented his county U16 hurling team.

John Heslin celebrates Heslin in action for Westmeath. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

5. Jack Carty

The Connacht rugby out-half has had a major impact upon Pat Lam’s team this year. The former Roscommon minor footballer made six appearances between this season’s Rabodirect PRO12 and the Heineken Cup.

Jack Carty Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Carty captained the Roscommon U16 team to their first Connacht championship in 38 years before lining out at wing-forward for the Roscommon minors in their 2009 All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Kerry.

He played at centre back for the Ireland U15 and U16 teams, as well as going on trial with Southampton at one point. The talented youth player stood out with the Athlone league team in the Kennedy Cup where he played alongside current UCD captain Robbie Benson.

Jack Carthy Jack in 2007. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

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