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Bournemouth boss hails 19-year-old Dubliner after man-of-the-match display against Lyon

It’s been a summer of progress for Gavin Kilkenny.

Gavin Kilkenny pictured during Bournemouth's pre-season friendly against Lyon on Saturday.
Gavin Kilkenny pictured during Bournemouth's pre-season friendly against Lyon on Saturday.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

AHEAD OF SATURDAY’S Premier League opener at home to Sheffield United, Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has admitted that Irish youngster Gavin Kilkenny is on the cusp of being handed a competitive first-team debut for the club.

Kilkenny was named man-of-the-match on Saturday after Bournemouth concluded their pre-season preparations by recording a 3-0 win over Ligue 1 giants Lyon at the Vitality Stadium.

Operating as a right-winger, Kilkenny contributed significantly to Bournemouth’s first goal, before getting on the scoresheet himself to double their lead.

It was another promising outing for the 19-year-old Dubliner, who has also earned praise for his performances in recent games against Girona and Brentford.

With David Brooks and Junior Stanislas both sidelined, Kilkenny could soon find himself involved in a Premier League fixture, although Bournemouth have today strengthened their wide options with the loan signing of Harry Wilson from Liverpool.

“He’s going to be there or thereabouts,” Eddie Howe told the Bournemouth Daily Echo when asked if the Ireland U19 international is in contention to feature against Sheffield United this weekend.

“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.”

AFC Bournemouth v Lyon - Pre-Season Friendly - Vitality Stadium Gavin Kilkenny is congratulated by team-mates after scoring Bournemouth's second goal against Lyon. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Formerly of St Kevin’s Boys, Kilkenny’s excellent work engineered Bournemouth’s 10th-minute opener against Lyon. He robbed possession from former Manchester United full-back Rafael on the halfway line, then embarked on a surging run, before laying the ball off to Nnamdi Ofoborh, who teed up Callum Wilson to score.

Kilkenny was a thorn in Rafael’s side again nine minutes later. The Brazilian was blocking his path to goal when Wilson squared the ball on the edge of the box, but Kilkenny managed to shift away from Rafael before applying a fine finish to beat Anthony Lopes.

Source: AFC Bournemouth/YouTube

Joshua King capitalised on sloppy Lyon defending in the 72nd minute as Bournemouth capped an encouraging win ahead of their fifth consecutive campaign in the Premier League.

Eddie Howe added: “He [Kilkenny] will be really proud I’m sure of what he did on Saturday. 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 really well.” 

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Paul Dollery

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