Sky’s the limit for Daryl

February 18, 2013

A whole new world has opened up for 15 year old Daryl Johnston from Newtownhamilton as he has been selected on the Northern Ireland squad for the upcoming Victory Shield competition.

The Victory Shield is an annual football tournament competed for by the under-16 teams of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The competition is broadcast live in the UK by Sky Sports who also sponsor the competition. It is sometimes referred to as the Sky Sports Victory Shield.

Daryl is no stranger to Northern Ireland teams and has made steady progress since coming to prominence while playing in the Carnbane League for Tullyvallen. The down to earth youngster who was a prolific goalscorer in his early days has continually stepped up the ladder in terms of progress and moved from the local League to Portadown in the Lisburn League. A participant in the IFA Excellence Programme Daryl was, despite his age, deemed good enough to try his luck with Glenavon in the National League.

Winner of Player of the Year and Top goalscorer in his first year showed just how well he adapted to the step up in class. In a further progression following his terrific debut season Daryl was tempted to go a step further and become part of the Dungannon United Youth set-up. Once again his outstanding performances and ability has led to his selection on the Victory Shield squad. Daryl’s versatility is such that he has made a name and a niche for himself as an attacking, goalscoring full back in the Northern Ireland set up.

With trial opportunities from several big clubs landing at his door with regularity Daryl has not been rushed into thinking that he has it made and is keen to stay put for now to help land a first National League title for his current team. Dungannon United lead the U-15 league by 14 points from Crusaders and Cliftonville who both have 2 games in hand. Former club Glenavon are currently propping up the table.

Although Northern Ireland have only won the Victory Shield once, in the year 2000, the fact that the games are shown live on Sky means lots of exposure for all the players, with literally the sky being the limit for the opportunities that it gives. Before the Victory Shield commences Daryl will be involved in a series of challenge games with Northern Ireland as well as continuing his association with the IFA Excellence Programme