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Shield Success

ORAN Kearney was full of praise for several of the club’s young stars who helped Northern Ireland win the Centenary Shield last week…

The U18 Schoolboys were victorious in all four games as they recorded a 3-0 home win against England, before a 2-1 success away at the Republic of Ireland.

In Scotland, Simon Nicks’ team walked away with a 2-0 win, with the Shield being secured in a 2-1 victory against Wales at the home of H&W Welders last week.

Bannsiders quartet Michael Harkin, Alfie Gaston, Senan Devine and Sam McClintock were heavily involved throughout the campaign.

Harkin netted against England and the Republic of Ireland, whilst Devine’s double saw off the challenge of Wales.

Gaston and Devine have already sampled first-team football this season and Kearney remarked at the strong cohort of players coming through the conveyor belt at The Showgrounds – including midfielder Aidan Tejada.

He said: “We have a really good cohort probably sitting around 16-years of age at this moment in time.

“A lot of them have played in the Centenary Shield, so we’ve got good quality there.

“We have three or four who have had the privilege to train with us all season, with Aidan being one of them.

“His development over the course of the season has been superb.

“With the league how it is and the season that’s it’s been, it makes it very, very hard to throw in those young players without extra stress that’s needed.

“The key thing is that they’ve got to make that last step and get into the first-team.”