Irish Premiership side hand first-team debut to 14-year-old goalkeeper

Irish Premiership side Glenavon FC gave a senior debut to 14-year-old goalkeeper Conner Byrne, writes Steve Neville.

The Northern Ireland club took on Portadown on Monday night in the Mid Ulster Cup semi-final, and the young debutant helped his side to a 2-1 win.

The club's academy head, Ryan Prentice, felt the young shot-stopper was more than capable of making the step up to the senior ranks.

"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," Prentice told BBC News.

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

Prentice said first team manager Gary Hamilton had been aware of Byrne for a season and a half and that he had already been training with the senior squad for a few months before his debut.

He also added that it was important that the club doesn't get carried away with Byrne's prospects.

"You don't want to speculate at this stage, it's easy to get ahead of yourself," said Prentice.

"If he continues to work hard, it would be nice if he could make a living out of football."

Certainly a name to keep an eye on.

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