Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool and United are linked with Glenavon's rising star Byrne

By Gareth Hanna

He only made his senior debut last month but already an Irish League teenager is being linked with the biggest clubs in English football.

Goalkeeper Conner Byrne took to the pitch for Glenavon in their 2-1 Mid-Ulster Cup semi-final victory over Portadown last month aged just 14.

Now he’s already being eyed up at Old Trafford and Anfield while Byrne this week spent time at the Leeds United Academy.

Also linked with the Lismore Comprehensive student are Everton and Tottenham Hotspur.

As many as a dozen English clubs could be interested.

United are thought to be leading the chase and seem confident they can complete a deal, having already scouted the player for quite some time.

After Byrne made his first team bow, club chairman Adrian Teer said: “There has already been a lot of interest in Conner from a number of cross-channel clubs. He is a great prospect.”

Byrne played for Northern Ireland Under-16s last month but it’s been a swift rise to stardom. He made his debut for the Glenavon Under-20s in October and just weeks later was drafted into the first team.

He was exactly 14 years and 245 days when he took to the pitch at Shamrock Park. It’s unclear whether or not that is an Irish League record although the previous youngest player in known records was Jason Greenaway, who was 15 years and 174 days when he was handed his debut, also by manager Gary Hamilton at Glenavon.

Just three fixtures survived the elements as the NI Football League programme was frozen still at the weekend.

Carrick’s clash with champions Linfield at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena fell by the wayside, as did Glentoran’s meeting with Ballinamallard United, while the 3G surfaces at Solitude and the Bangor Fuels Arena were no match for blankets of overnight snow, meaning that Cliftonville and Ards’ respective showdowns with Glenavon and Ballymena United will have to wait for another day.

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