Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

A soccer career can wait for Armagh's McParland

Gavin McParland has found himself torn between his two sporting loves of late — but right now he is totally focussed on helping to bring the All Ireland Minor football crown to Armagh.

The 18-year-old Ballymacnab clubman swept in the two glorious goals that underpinned the Orchard county’s 2-10 to 0-10 victory over Kerry in last Sunday’s semi-final and will help to spearhead the attack again in the final against either Down or Mayo on September 20.

But if Ballymacnab and Armagh are currently benefiting from Gavin’s cultured services, then Armagh City and Northern Ireland have also reaped dividends from his scoring prowess in the recent past — and hope to do so again in the future.

Gavin has represented Northern Ireland at Under 16, Under 17 and Under 18 levels and has travelled extensively in Europe, underlining the skills that initially came to fruition at the Holm Park headquarters of Armagh City.

Last year McParland and his Armagh forward colleague Rory Grugan were in the County Armagh side that faced Manchester United in the Milk Cup competition when Federico Macheda, whose stunning winner against Aston Villa towards the end of last season highlighted United’s title surge, helped himself to two spectacular goals.

But while the prospect of a career in soccer looms on the horizon, Gavin is concentrating on the All Ireland final.

“An all-Ulster Minor final would be something special,” says Gavin.

Having completed his studies at St Patrick’s HS, Keady, Gavin is considering options in further education — but it’s his educated feet to which Orchard county fans will be looking come All Ireland final day.

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