Glenavon is Top of the League

Marshall Gillespie has revealed that Glenavon tops this season’s Sports Direct Premiership league table for minutes played by teenagers. Up to and including the Newry City fixture on 6th April 2024, under 20s had clocked up 4,740 minutes in a blue jersey. That is 1,000 minutes more than second-placed Ballymena United and almost 1,500 minutes ahead of third-placed Dungannon Swifts. The table also shows that Loughgall manager Dean Smith has granted teenagers only 202 minutes whilst Crusaders’ boss Stephen Baxter has barely allowed an under 20-year-old to take the field.

The Glenavon teenagers to have featured since August 2023 are Isaac Baird, Jamie Doran, Cohen Henderson, Gavin Hodgins, Aaron Prendergast, Daniel Shiel and David Toure. A.P. celebrated his 20th birthday in January. Who knows what Glenavon’s total would have been if Isaac Baird’s season had not been cut short by injury?

Manager Stephen McDonnell found Marshall’s revelation encouraging. “Glenavon has always had a reputation for blooding young talent. Young players provide pace and energy. We are delighted to have so many in the present first-team squad. Hopefully, this table shows that if gifted teenagers want an opportunity to play at senior level, Mourneview Park is the place where they are most likely to be given that chance.”

Club Minutes
1 Glenavon 4740
2 Ballymena United 3732
3 Dungannon Swifts 3273
4 Larne 2884
5 Glentoran 2475
6 Newry City 1769
7 Cliftonville 1735
8 Linfield 1200
9 Carrick Rangers 557
10 Coleraine 505
11 Loughgall 202
12 Crusaders 7