Belfast Telegraph

Three Irish League stars nominated for Ulster Young Footballer of the Year award

Glenavon's Caolan Marron, Ballymena's Kofi Balmer and Coleraine's Ben Doherty have all been nominated for thew Ulster Young Footballer of the Year award
Glenavon's Caolan Marron, Ballymena's Kofi Balmer and Coleraine's Ben Doherty have all been nominated for thew Ulster Young Footballer of the Year award

By Gareth McCullough

A trio of Danske Bank Premiership starlets will battle it out for this year's Ulster Young Footballer of the Year Awards

Glenavon defender Caolan Marron, his former team-mate, midfielder Ben Doherty, now at Coleraine, and Ballymena United centre-back Kofi Balmer will got head-to-head at the awards ceremony, which takes place at the Titanic Belfast on Monday April 29.

Balmer was part of the Northern Ireland Under21 side that made it six wins in a row with a 2-1 victory over Mexico in Spain at the end of last month and has been in outstanding form for David Jeffrey's Braidmen who sit in second place in the league table, nine points adrift of leaders Linfield with five games to go.

Newry-born Marron is likely to miss the remainder of the campaign having broken a bone in his foot against Dungannon, but Glenavon Assistant Manager Paul Millar has tipped the youngster for a bright future.

“I know there is at least one Premier League club watching Caolan,” Millar said recently.

“He’s played regularly in the last two or three years for us and he is still only 20. He is fast, he talks, he can tackle, he has two good feet and is really comfortable on the ball.

“Every Irish League club would sign him tomorrow.

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“I think he is the best young centre back in Ireland, never mind Northern Ireland."

Doherty began the season in superb form for Gary Hamilton's Lurgan Blues, during a spell on loan form League of Ireland side Derry City. He then made a January move to Rodney McAree's Coleraine with Ciaron Harkin going into the opposite direction to The Brandywell. 

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