Lightning quick Dylan Connolly is real Ipswich Town prospect, says Shelbourne boss Kevin Doherty

Dylan Connolly

Dylan Connolly

Dylan Connolly is a ‘lightning quick’ winger who will have benefitted from playing at senior level in Ireland.

That is according to the 19-year-old’s former boss at Shelbourne, Kevin Doherty, who has helped nurture the teenager’s talent since the age of 15.

The Republic of Ireland under-19 international impressed manager Mick McCarthy in a summer trial game at Braintree Town, but must have been pinching himself when he was named in Ipswich’s 18-man squad for Saturday’s 2-1 win at Fulham.

Connolly did not get on the pitch but his inclusion, at the expense of a more experienced campaigner in Cameron Stewart, was a clear indication of the high regard in which he is held at Portman Road.

Doherty, whose own fledgling career at Liverpool was ruined by injury, said he expects big things from Connolly, who scored 12 goals in 27 Division One games for Shelbourne, in the League of Ireland last season.

“I suppose the fact it (Connolly’s inclusion) happened so quick made it a bit of a surprise, but I had not doubt that he would be involved sooner rather than later,” said Doherty.

“His main asset is his pace, he is lightning quick.

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“I had him as a 15-year-old at Home Farm, where he played schoolboy football, and I brought him to Shelbourne.

“He has always had that natural pace but to a certain degree, playing against lads his own age probably hindered his development. He would just knock the ball past them and run, whereas playing in senior football he couldn’t do that as much.

“Professional players are generally quick enough to cope with such things, so Dylan had to develop his game a bit and you can see the improvements he has made over the last two years. He has worked hard in training.

“His attitude is great and I have never had an issue with him.

“He wants to win and he is going over to England at a good age, having already played men’s football.”

Should Connolly proved to be a success at Ipswich, he will follow a long line of players that were plucked from the League of Ireland that have become household names in England, Seamus Coleman, Shane Long and Blues’ hotshot Daryl Murphy to name just three current stars.

“I was 18 when I went to Liverpool but I had a bad injury and that is my sob story,” explained Doherty.

“There are a fair few lads go over to England but maybe the chance has not arisen for as many in recent years.

“A lot of boys gain experience playing league football in Ireland, which is good for them. You only have to look at Seamus Coleman who was signed by Everton from Sligo Rovers for £60,000

“There is a lot of talent over here. Ryan Manning was one of Harry Redknapp’s last signings at QPR and there are certainly a lot of schoolboys waiting to make that step up.”

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