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Gormley deserves his chance to hit the big time

Biting Back: by Graham Luney

Published 15/06/2015

For as long as I've known the Irish League it was been attacked, ridiculed and a few observers wouldn't lose any sleep if it disappeared.

Despite the cheap shots it takes, our domestic game has done a pretty good job in bringing young people from different backgrounds together and adding value to their lives.

It hasn't been able to escape the realities of our troubled past, but Northern Ireland would be a much more depressing and dull place without it.

Take a closer look at the youth development that goes on around the clubs and you will see the country's most promising players getting the right education.

The latest man to make the leap of faith across the water is Cliftonville's lethal goalscorer Joe Gormley who has signed for League One club Peterborough United.

The Reds also provided a pathway for Rory Donnelly and Liam Boyce to compete at a higher level and their recent record of producing sublime talents is extraordinary.

Players who perform in the Irish League can make it all the way to the international stage with former Crusaders starlet Stuart Dallas the latest example.

Kids in their early teenage years don't need to go to the big clubs across the water to fulfil their football dreams.

In worse case scenarios they can return home disillusioned.

Joe deserves his chance to hit the big time at Peterborough and though Reds fans will be gutted to lose their hero they will wish him luck safe in the knowledge that they support a club that knows talent when they see it and knows how to make football dreams come true.

Belfast Telegraph

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