Clarke's promise after picking up award

BILLY Clarke last night picked up a prestigious award from Graeme Souness in Dublin and promptly promised to “pull his finger out” and get back into the first team reckoning.

By Derek Davis

BILLY Clarke last night picked up a prestigious award from Graeme Souness in Dublin and promptly promised to “pull his finger out” and get back into the first team reckoning.

The 18-year-old was named among the Irish Examiner National Junior Sports Stars for 2005 at a glittering ceremony at the Berkeley Court Hotel in the Republic's capital and joined an elite list of Irish sporting greats.

Watched by a host of top Irish sporting chiefs, including FAI chief executive John Delaney, Clarke accepted the granite and brass plinth from Souness, who asked about the knee injury which kept him out of the FA Youth Cup final last season, and wished him luck in his career with Ipswich and Ireland.


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Clarke last night said: “It was a really big honour and a great occasion. To follow in the steps of people like Roy Keane, Damien Duff and Robbie Keane, is quite something and I hope I can have a career like those top players.

“It is a great award to look back on in years to come, but I know I have to put it behind me straight away and concentrate on getting back to Ipswich. I have to pull my finger out and get myself back in contention for the first team and I that is down to me.”

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The awards honour the cream of young Irish talent and were first presented by the Irish Examiner 22 years ago. The ceremony, covered nationally in Ireland by television and radio, is seen as a glimpse of the future stars of Irish sports with luminaries such as athlete Sonia O'Sullivan, jockey Ruby Walsh, and rugby union star Gordon D'Arcy among previous winners from other sports.

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