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Dublin: 1°C Sunday 7 March 2021

19-year-old Dubliner handed first-ever senior start for Bournemouth

Gavin Kilkenny has been rewarded by Eddie Howe after impressing in pre-season.

Gavin Kilkenny pictured playing for Bournemouth during pre-season.
Gavin Kilkenny pictured playing for Bournemouth during pre-season.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

Updated at 19.35

19-YEAR-OLD DUBLINER Gavin Kilkenny has been handed a first-ever senior start by Bournemouth.

The Cherries face Forest Green in the League Cup this evening, and Eddie Howe has placed his faith in the teenage midfielder.

Kilkenny was also named in Stephen Kenny’s Ireland U21 squad earlier today.

Speaking at the squad announcement at Abbotstown earlier today, Kenny said of Kilkenny: “He’s obviously a very good footballer and an intelligent player. He can play in wide areas or central areas, off either flank.

“It’ll be the first time he’s involved with us. But he impressed for Bournemouth pre-season.”

Howe also reserved praise for the player, after he caught the eye against Lyon in pre-season, picking up the man-of-the-match award in the process.

“He’s going to be there or thereabouts,” Eddie Howe told the Bournemouth Daily Echo, when asked if the Ireland U19 international was in contention to feature competitively for the first team.

“We don’t have a big squad so he’s going to be close. I can’t make any promises to him now, but what I can say is that if he continues along the same way that he’s played in pre-season, then he’ll have a very good chance of being involved this season.

He’s carried on really from his form all throughout pre-season, where he’s done very, very well technically.

“He’s done some excellent things with the ball, showed a real game intelligence and took his goal [against Lyon] really well.”

Irish goalkeeper Mark Travers also gets a chance for Bournemouth, having previously been given a run in the first team towards the end of last season, while Dublin-born midfielder Kevin Dawson starts for the visitors.

Elsewhere tonight, Irish international Ciaran Clark makes his first appearance of the season for Newcastle in their tie with Leicester.

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Irish duo Jeff Hendrick and Kevin Long also make their first starts of the campaign for Burnley against Sunderland, while Dundalk-born defender Jimmy Dunne is on the bench for Sean Dyche’s men.

In addition, Ryan Manning and Ronan Curtis feature for QPR and Portsmouth respectively in their tie, while Conor Masterson makes the bench for the former.

Celbridge-born defender Cian Bolger starts, as Lincoln host Everton.

And finally, Ireland U19 international midfielder Conor Grant has been named on the bench for Sheffield Wednesday in their clash with Rotherham.

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Paul Fennessy

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