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16-year-old Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper 'ready' for the big stage, claims Bradley

The Hoops manager has heaped praise on young players Gavin Bazunu and Brandon Kavanagh, while also speaking about Graham Burke’s future.

Bradley has been under pressure from fans in recent weeks.
Bradley has been under pressure from fans in recent weeks.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

SHAMROCK ROVERS MANAGER Stephen Bradley has hailed the performances of teenagers Gavin Bazunu and Brandon Kavanagh’s after the pair were involved in Saturday’s over Bray Wanderers.

Two goals for Graham Burke helped Bradley’s side to a 5-0 drubbing of the Seagulls in Tallaght Stadium, as they bounced back from a disappointing 5-2 loss to Dundalk.

17-year-old Kavanagh impressed in midfield while, at just 16, Bazunu took over goalkeeper duties from Tomer Chencinski and kept a clean sheet during a strong senior debut.

The Firhouse youngster is unlikely to retain his spot for long as veteran Alan Mannus becomes available to play at the start of July, after signing from St Johnstone for his second spell at Rovers.

Despite Mannus’ imminent arrival, Bradley maintains that the teenager has what it takes to play senior level.

“At 16, especially goalkeepers, you don’t want to throw them in that early but sometimes you just can’t hold them back,” the Hoops boss said after the game. “Sometimes they’re ready and he’s ready.”

The manager also sang the praises of midfielder Kavanagh, who was nearly on the score sheet but saw his volley blocked by Conor Kenna.

He was excellent,” added Bradley. “He has really good ability. He just needs to keep his head down, keep working hard and look at the players around him and learn from them. If he does that — he’ll be a top player.”

Graham Burke was also impressive as the 24-year-old capped off a phenomenal few weeks that saw him make his international debut and score a first goal for Ireland against USA at the Aviva Stadium on 2 June.

Burke has been linked with a move to England after catching the eye for Rovers and Ireland, and while Bradley denies any formal deal has been done, he added that Burke could leave for a “fair” fee.

“Graham’s here, there’s a lot of interest,” Bradley explained. “But like I said, unless the deal is right for everyone then Graham will be a Shamrock Rovers player.

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“There’s a lot of offers and a lot of talk, but nothing done. It has to be fair, there’s 18 months left on his contract and we’re more than happy where we are with him.”

- Additional reporting by Dave Donnelly

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