Glenavon U-18s / Reserves striker Dylan Alexander is preparing to represent Lurgan Golf Club in the All-Ireland Under-18 Golf Final at Castletroy, near Limerick from 28th to 30th August 2023. The multi-talented 17-year-old plays off a handicap of 0. He is rated one of the top young golfers in Ireland.
“I have been playing since I was 9 or 10 years old,” he explains. “It is a difficult game to master. No matter how well you are playing you always feel that you could do better. But I love the challenge.”
Dylan has a Glenavon pedigree which is second to none. His grandfather, Holt Alexander, was a lifelong supporter, a popular member of the Triangle Supporters’ Club and a Mourneview Park matchday volunteer for decades prior to his passing in 2018. Holt was also a talented golfer and long-time member of Lurgan Golf Club.
Dylan’s father, Brian, is also a keen Glenavon fan.
“I have been attending games at Mourneview Park since I was very young,” he explains. “My dad and grandad brought me. We were all at the Irish Cup Final in 2016. Nowadays, if I am not playing for the Under-18s or Reserves or have a golf match, I go to virtually every Glenavon fixture, home or away. I try not to miss any.”
The teenager is about to begin his final year at R.B.A.I. He is studying Business and Sport. “The next nine months will be important,” he said. “I will have to juggle schoolwork with football and golf. It won’t be easy!”
Dylan was a member of the Lurgan Golf Club team which recently won the prestigious Fred Daly Ulster South trophy for Under-18s at the beautiful Castle Hume course on the banks of Lough Erne. It defeated Warrenpoint in the first round; Rockmount in the quarter-final; Tandragee in the semi-final; and Holywood, in the final.
Lurgan Golf Club’s Fred Daly Ulster South Trophy winning squad – Conor Coleman, Dylan Alexander, Alexander Irwin, Golf Ireland Representative, Andrew Irwin, Evan Pepper, Shea Williamson, Jayden McCavigan.
The Lurgan team comprised Shea Williamson, Alexander Irwin, Conor Coleman, Evan Pepper, Jayden McCavigan and, of course, Dylan. The six teenagers were captained by former Glenavon director Andrew Irwin.
Lurgan won the competition – and booked a place in the All-Ireland decider – thanks to a 3-2 success against Rory McIlroy’s home club. The final ended in a 2-2 draw and went to sudden death play-off. Conor Coleman birdied the extra hole to clinch victory.
Dylan made a significant contribution by winning his singles match 4 and 2. “It was a great experience, but the end was nerve-wrecking,” he said. “Holywood is a very strong team. We did very well to beat them.”
The Lurgan lads received great support from family, friends and Lurgan members. Glenavon President Gordon Irwin and son Ian Irwin were amongst those who travelled to County Fermanagh for the final.
If Dylan isn’t playing golf, he is playing football. He joined the Glenavon Academy four years ago. He has enjoyed his time in the under-age set up. “The Academy has great coaches,” he added. “They know their football and take a real interest in the players. Plus, Gary Hamilton is involved as well. It is a really positive environment.”
Last season the teenager finished as Glenavon Under-18s’ top goalscorer. He was also on target in the 2-0 win against Portadown in the Mid-Ulster Youth Cup Final.
Dylan Alexander and Jayden Morgan with the Mid-Ulster Youth Cup.
“Winning that cup was a great finish to the season for us,” he continued. “On the night we played well. It made up, a bit, for losing the Harry Cavan Youth Cup Final the season before.”
The Mid-Ulster Final was watched by a sizeable attendance at Mourneview Park. It gave Dylan a taste of the likely atmosphere should he ever play senior football.
“The good crowd that night encouraged us to get it over the line. Obviously, it would be a dream to play in the Irish League for Glenavon,” he said. “I don’t know if it will ever happen. But I am determined to do my best to make it a reality.”