# Starting young
14-year-old goalkeeper makes his senior debut for Irish league club Glenavon
Conner Byrne played 90 minutes in the win over Portadown.

CURRENT AC MILAN goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma famously made his first-team debut at 16, but this is another level.

Irish Premiership club Glenavon faced rivals Portadown in the Mid-Ulster Cup semi-final on Monday and manager Gary Hamilton opted to field a youthful side at Shamrock Park.

He also took the opportunity to hand Conner Byrne his first taste of senior football, which may not sound out of the ordinary until you learn that the keeper is just 14 years of age.

Byrne, who has been named in the Northern Ireland U16 squad this week, performed admirably in the 2-1 victory and appears to have a bright future ahead of him.

“I think it’s fantastic for Conner as a player to play in the first team and credit should be given to the manager for taking the chance on youth, as it doesn’t always happen at other clubs,” Ryan Prentice, head of Glenavon’s academy, told the BBC.

He’s tall, brave and dedicated to training and works very hard with the coaches.

“Conner has been doing very well, he has played with the U20 team before and has been training with the senior squad for a number of months. He has always played at a level ahead of his age.”

Originally published at 12.41

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