Northern Ireland: Goalkeeper Born In 2003 Makes Senior Professional Debut In Mid-Ulster Cup Semi-Final

Chris Wright

29th, November 2017

Photo: Glenavon Academy (via @BBCSport/Twitter)

In somewhat depressing news, last night saw Northern Ireland Premiership side Glenavon give a senior debut to a goalkeeper who was born in the year of our Lord, 2003.

Yep, Connor Byrne, who was stationed in goal for Glenavon’s Mid-Ulster Cup win over Portadown, is several months younger than ‘In Da Club’ by 50 Cent.

Indeed, the 14-year-old was one of several members of the club’s Under-16 Academy side who were given a run out in a starting XI that featured an age span of 19 tears; from Byrne through to 33-year-old player/coach Kris Lindsay.

Glenavon went on to register a 2-1 victory over their local rivals, thus securing themselves a place in the final, where they’ll face the winners of the second semi-final, either Newry City or Banbridge Town.

The head of Glenavon’s academy, Ryan Prentince, was brimming over with praise for Byrne after the match, telling BBC Northern Ireland:

I think it’s fantastic for Conner as a player to play in the first team and credit should be given to the manager for taking the chance on youth, as it doesn’t always happen at other clubs.

He’s tall, brave and dedicated to training and works very hard with the coaches.

The physical side has to be managed, but the flip-side is that the game is not as physical as it maybe was 20 or 30 years ago, when goalkeepers got clattered.

He’s also marshalled by experienced players who will look after him.

At this point Pies would usually regale you with tales of the antics we were getting up to at the tender age of 14, but quite honestly it probably extends to feverish onanism and feverish onanism alone.

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