Gary Hamilton has swooped to sign exciting 19 year old winger Joel Cooper from Ballyclare Comrades on a two-year deal, beating off competition from both Glentoran and Linfield.

Joel Cooper celebrates after scoring for Ballyclare last season. Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye

Cooper, who was a star performer in the NI Regions Cup team, comes highly recommended by Jim Magilton and others. He can play wide on the left but is also effective up front and on the right.

“He’s very quick and can deliver a great ball into the box,” Gary told us when he revealed the signing to the website this morning. “Joel is part of the long-term plan that we have in place to develop and bring the young talent through, as we have with the likes of Marshall, Singleton, Drylie and Sykes. These young lads are the future of Glenavon.”

Like Gary himself, Joel is a life-long Glenavon fan! He started attending games as a youngster with his Granddad who, although he comes from Carnmoney, became a fan of the Lurgan Blues after he was himself introduced as a young boy to Glenavon by his aunt and uncle who he used to visit in their home in Maralin back in the days of Cush and Jones.

Gary went on to say “I’d like to sincerely thank Ballyclare and especially David Dorian and Stuart King who have been very professional and a great help in completing the deal. Davy allowed Joel to play with us this week so we could get a good look at him. He wants the best for Joel and this move will give him the opportunity to become a top player in the Irish League and at a higher level.”