Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville triumph over Dungannon as Liam Boyce says his goodbyes

By Conor McLaughlin

Cliftonville 2 Dungannon 0: Cliftonville striker Liam Boyce was afforded a standing ovation at the end of what appears to have been his final game for the club.

Replaced by Martin Jones in the last minute of the Reds’ 2-0 victory over Dungannon Swifts on Friday night, Boyce is set to finalise a switch to German Bundesliga 2 side SpVgg Greuther Furth at some stage over the next 24 hours and, according to boss Eddie Patterson, the 19-year-old is on the treshold of a glorious career.

“That may well be the last we see if Liam in a Cliftonville shirt but it certainly won’t be the last we hear of him,” he said.

“He has a massive opportunity to carve out a full-time living from the game and, having worked with him and watched him develop over the last couple of years, I have absolutely no doubt he has what it takes to make the grade.

“I know most of the speculation about his future had linked him with a move across the water to England or Scotland but my personal opinion is that going to Germany — and a club which specialises in working with youngsters and taking them to the next level — will do him the absolute world of good.

“How many young lads do you see leave the Irish League and get lost in reserve team football in England? They return home disillusioned with the game and that’s not good for you, especially at such a young age.

“Going to Germany gives Liam a real chance of playing first-team football at a high standard and, with the benefit of daily training, he’s only going to get better and better.

“As a part-time club, we at Cliftonville can only do so much to help him progress. There reaches a stage where he needs to be playing full-time to fully unlock his talent and Greuther look like a club who will help him in that regard.

“His ability has been there for all to see over the last year or so, but I know from first-hand experience that his attitude is spot on as well.

“I’m delighted that something looks like coming off for him because he’s a good kid and he deserves it.”

Boyce didn’t get on the scoresheet at Cliftonville’s temporary Seaview abode, but he did provide the telling touch which allowed George McMullan to break the deadlock on 35 minutes.

Trailing at the interval was harsh on Dungannon, but the Reds cranked it up a level after the interval and made sure of the points with just over 20 minutes to play when McMullan cracked a superb free-kick home.

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