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Paddy’s young at art

Paddy McLaughlin says the performances of Cliftonville’s young guns in last night’s County Antrim Shield tie with Linfield should serve as a warning to the Club’s senior players.

Though defeated on penalties in the quarter-final tie, McLaughlin was effusive in his praise for the team and believes the reaction of the home fans after the game indicated that they, too, had been impressed by what the Reds’ stars of the future had produced.

Alongside some smart saves from goalkeeper Fynn Talley, fellow 20-year-olds Jamie Robinson and Odhran Casey excelled in their respective defensive and midfield roles, while teen star Sean Moore caught the eye with a mesmerising display on the flank.

“I’m delighted with the performance, I thought we were really good,” said McLaughlin.

“It’s probably the youngest side we’ve ever put on the pitch.

“Maybe after a couple of minutes, we didn’t get up with the speed of the game straight away and they’ve scored a brilliant goal right and early but, from then on and right through the 90 minutes, I thought our boys were excellent.

“We’d a lot of young boys out there who held their own and bettered Linfield across a lot of the game. We can see the future’s definitely bright at the Club with so much young talent coming through and we can only hold them back for so long.

“I’ve warned the senior players that these boys are coming for their places and they will get their chances. They’ve definitely given me something to think about from here on in because those young boys are ready to play and aren’t just here to make up the numbers.

“I think the fans appreciated the performance, you saw them waiting for the players to leave the pitch; they didn’t leave until they clapped them off which shows how much they appreciated it. That means a lot to the players, but obviously we’re here to win games and that’s the only thing that disappoints because I felt we deserved it.”

On the “incredible” Moore – who capped his performance with an ice-cool Panenka chip in the shootout – the Manager added: “I’m sure his family are very proud of him because he’s so grounded and so down to earth. You wouldn’t think he’s got the quality he has by talking to him. He’s a credit to himself and his family but the dink down the middle was bad enough – the fact he didn’t even spot the ball properly and let the keeper do it for him just tells you his confidence is sky high.”