BY DYLAN MANGAN
A UKRAINIAN footballer who lived near Rossmore when he first came to Ireland has landed a dream move to reigning Irish champions Shamrock Rovers.
Viktor Serdeniuk arrived in the country with his wife Natalia and son Alex six months ago, having left their home in Odessa following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Despite the horrible circumstances of their arrival in Ireland, Viktor and Natalia have said that the kindness of people in West Cork made things a little bit easier.
‘I’m very impressed with people from Cork and all over Ireland,’ Viktor said, speaking to The Southern Star. ‘The people here are very polite and friendly.’
He spent some time working in Glenmar Shellfish in Union Hall – an opportunity which came about completely by chance.
‘He came into the shop to buy some lobsters,’ said Stephen Hurley, shop manager. ‘I noticed that he was Ukrainian and knew that they would be looking for work so I asked him if he was. He came back with his brother-in-law and they both worked here.’
Viktor spent about three months in Glenmar. ‘I was then without a team and [had] a lot of free time, I decided to take their offer.’
While living in West Cork, Viktor spent time training with Cork City, Cobh Ramblers and Avondale, but couldn’t secure a contract.
‘It was hard for me because I was without football for a long time and I could not show everything that I was capable of,’ he said. ‘They needed a ready player. They were not ready to wait until I got in shape.’
While disappointing at the time, it may have been the best thing to happen to Viktor while here: ‘I’m glad it happened. Because now I’m a player on the best team in Ireland.’
Viktor is now in Dublin with Shamrock Rovers and hopes Natalia and Alex can join him once they find accommodation.