Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Antrim ace McGourty set for DC bow

Conor 'CJ' McGourty, the star of Antrim's journey to the Tommy Murphy Cup final this summer, is set to make his debut for Donegal Celtic on Saturday.

The 19-year-old St Gall's player isn't about to stand down from inter-county or club football but Hoops chief Paddy Kelly insists he could make an impact in soccer's professional arena.

McGourty will train with his new Celtic team-mates tonight in preparation for Saturday's CIS Cup Group C qualifying game against Limavady United at Celtic Park.

It's a game Celtic must win following last weekend's dramatic 4-3 defeat to Crusaders - and Kelly will pin his hopes on young McGourty's talent. As an underage player with Celtic, McGourty once went on trial with Peterborough United and still harbours an ambition to play at the highest level.

"CJ has been with Donegal Celtic for a number of years and last season often played with our reserve team while he was an under-18 player. I have no doubt the lad has the talent to play football as a professional, he is super-confident."

The timing of McGourty's return could not be better for Kelly. Due to family commitments, he is without midfielder Tony Heagney, winger Ciaran Gargan and striker Paul McVeigh.

McGourty, who can play on either wing, could be instantly thrown into the action.

"I'm always willing to take a chance on a player but having watched CJ play often I know he can tune his talent into soccer without a fuss," added Kelly.

McGourty is still involved with St Gall's in the Antrim championship and was part of the side that dismissed Rasharkin from it last Friday.

However, this does not present a problem for the player or Kelly, who added: "I respect any guy who is committed to his chosen sport and there's no issue with CJ playing gaelic football or hurling. It's a case of 'wait and see' regarding his application to Donegal Celtic and if he feels his has a productive future in soccer, only he will make the choice."

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