Belfast Telegraph

Ex-Northern Ireland duo can't believe Irish League talent is not being whisked away


By Billy Weir

Two former Northern Ireland internationals say they are amazed that cross-channel clubs aren't flocking to pluck exciting young talent from the Danske Bank Premiership.

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton and midfielder Sammy Clingan were speaking after Saturday's pulsating clash between the Lurgan Blues and Coleraine, where scouts from across the water were spoilt for choice.

Under-21 internationals Jamie McGonigle and Mark Sykes were both on target in a 2-2 draw and Hamilton, who played for Blackburn Rovers before a glittering career back home, can't believe the present talent is still here.

"I know there were scouts there watching him and if you were a scout here and watched Mark Sykes and your club is not signing him at the end of it, then there's something wrong," he said.

And Clingan, who scored Glenavon's equaliser, added: "I've seen the players who play across the water because obviously I was over there for most of my career and I have no doubt if those players went across, got full-time coaching that they would definitely get better and produce over there."

Coleraine's point keeps them eight ahead of Glenavon at the top of the table. Neither side is in action this weekend because of international call-ups, with Sykes joining McGonigle and Harkin in Ian Baraclough's squad for the game with Albania, while Bobby Burns is on standby, meaning their ties with Ards and Glentoran have been postponed.

Belfast Telegraph

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