Wednesday 21 March 2018

Poynton caps amazing week with pro contract

A MEMORABLE week in the life of Georgie Poynton was capped last Friday.

He signed his first professional contract with Dundalk - at the tender age of 16.

The youngster recently captained the Republic of Ireland Under-17s to a 4-0 win against Shelbourne U-19s, receiving the Man of the Match award in the process, and he celebrated his new contract by making a substitute appearance for the first team in that night's Tommy McConville memorial match.

Then the following day he scored both goals for Dundalk Under-19s in a vital play-off game against Mervue United, and already he has set his sights on playing across the water in the future.

Poynton, who hails from the Dublin/Meath border and first joined Dundalk Under-19s from East Meath United last August, said: 'Signing this contract is a massive experience and learning curve for me, training with the likes of Richie Towell, Stephen O'Donnell, Chris Shields and Ruaidhri Higgins. I think these are some of the best midfielders I have seen in ages.

'It's my thoughts that we have the best central midfielders in Ireland at this club. They are great people to look up to, learn, and model myself on, especially Richie.

'My ambitions for the club this year is to qualify for the group stages of Europe, and to win the league would be a huge achievement. I would also like to win the Cup and to basically conquer Ireland on all fronts.

'In the next few years I would like to test my talents in England, but if this didn't work out there is only one team here for me. But you never know.'

Giving his reaction to Poynton's signing, first-team manager Stephen Kenny said: 'I think Georgie's a credit to himself and his family, especially for one so young.

'He came on in the McConville match and I introduced him to the other players, saying he was born in 1997. They all laughed at that because it made them feel ancient!

'He's a brilliant young person with great potential, and he's academically bright as well.

'There has been some interest from other clubs already and Georgie spent a few days over with Middlesbrough and there was interest from Hibernian as well.'

News of Poynton's deal has also been welcomed by Under-19 manager Martin Connolly.

'We were all delighted for Georgie and it gives the whole squad a lift seeing his progress,' said Connolly. 'His attitude is tremendous and he is happy to stay in Ireland and continue his progress. A lot of young players go over to the UK and get lost in the system a little bit.'

Despite coming from County Meath, the youngest Dundalk player ever to sign a professional contract with the club is actually a big Dundalk supporter.

'He is a big fan of the team,' revealed Connolly. 'He was involved with the emerging talent group that trained in Dundalk and always loved how the club was run. That's how he got introduced to the club and it grew from there. He comes to the games and supports the team whenever he can.

'We are very lucky to have a senior manager like Stephen here because he is always interested in the younger players. He has had numerous players from our set-up training with the first-team squad and involved on match days, something that can only help them in their development.'

The Argus