Sligo star Sean McTernan hopes to repay his home club by making it in the pro ranks.

But the former Ireland international is anxiously waiting for a US visa so he can get the ball rolling.

McTernan, 24, hopes to base himself in Alabama and start his career on the US Hooters Tour early next year.

He has the cash to meet expenses of over $1,000 a month thanks to family backing and a massive €12,000 injection from the members at Rosses Point.

But his plans hinge on getting a professional sportsman’s visa - and that hasn’t come cheap either.

He said: “Hopefully, I’ll have word hopefully by 6 December. Otherwise I don’t know what I will do.

“The plan is to live Alabama where a friend of mine is the manager of a golf course and has offered me a place to stay and a place to play for free.

“But first I need a P 1 - a professional sports person’s visa - and that isn’t easy to get.  You need an agent, a lawyer and a letter signed by at least four US PGA professionals.

“I’ve managed to get that done with the help of Eoghan O’Connell, who kindly stepped in as my agent.

“Justin Rose and a couple of the boys at Lake Nona have signed the letter and I have paid an extra $1,000 to US immigration to get a quick response rather than wait up to six months for an answer. So it hasn’t come cheap.

“On top of that I had lawyer’s fees of $2,000 and another $2,000 to join the Hooters Tour. Then I’ll have to pay an entry fee of $850 per event so I am very grateful to Co Sligo for all their support.”

Club captain Joe Gannon organised a golf day for McTernan that raised €12,000 and convinced the young Sligo man to take the plunge into the professional ranks in the first place.

He confessed: “I couldn’t believe the support I got. I have been away from Rosses Point for so long, studying in America, and I had lost touch with a lot of people at home.

“At the end of the amateur season I was hemming and hawing about whether or not to turn pro but everyone at the club was just getting behind me and wishing me the best of luck. So it made it a very easy decision.

“They raised €10,000 for me and I got another €2,000 in contributions so that’s €12,000 that will really stand me in good stead

“Now I will be able to go over and give it a rip and if I break even next year, I will be able to do it for another year.”

McTernan certainly has the talent to make it as a professional on the evidence of his 12 under par 61 in this year’s Irish Close Championship at Westport.

And he admits that his mentality has changed now that he is preparing to play for pay.

He said: “My motivation levels have increased a lot and I suppose that now that I am doing this as a career there are no more excuses.

“I my amateur days I might be sitting on the couch and looking out the wind and rain thinking, it’s not a good day for golf.

“But now I am thinking, I had better get out there. It just has to be done. The only person I am hurting is myself.

“I have a physical therapist now, Johnny Glynn in Galway, and I’ve had a lot of help from Xavier Medas, the assistant pro at Co Sligo and my coach Fred Twomey.

“I feel that by no means have I come close to playing as well as I can and I have really developed as a player with Fred.

“I am close to hitting the ball the way I want to hit it and confidence wise I am a much stronger player as well.”

All he needs now is that US visa.

Mick McCarthy and Harrington

Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy believes Padraig Harrington truly understands his Premiership struggles.

The former Republic of Ireland supremo is suffering at the foot of the table with just one win from 13 games since Sunderland returned to the top flight.

But single figure golfer McCarthy knows it is only a question of time before his young squad comes up to scratch.

He said: “I played golf with Padraig Harrington in the Seve Trophy at the Wynyard Club and it was interesting to get another sportsman's perspective on it.

“He recalled when he was a young and up-and-coming golfer and everybody was promoting him and he thought it was great.

“Then you step up and begin as a professional, just like Justin Rose at the Open, then suddenly you are playing against better opposition and you don't win anything.

“You don't make the cut, you are going home for the weekend and you can't put put it into perspective. It's no different when it's somebody else from a different sport experiencing the same thing.

"He has gone on to become one of the top golfers and I think that is a lesson for all, managers, coaches and players.”

Harrington must have been thinking of another golfer’s early struggles.

In his first full season as a professional he made the cut in his first eight starts - then won the Spanish Open in just his ninth event.

But he did shine as a goalkeeper for his school, Colaiste Eanna.

And he admits that the biggest football fan he knows is pal Paul McGinley.

McGinley is a huge Celtic and West Ham supporter while Harrington supports Leeds.

He said: “Paul would actually pick the teams if he was allowed. He is so into his football.”