Shane Keegan will be well aware that the 2018 season has the potential to be one of the most competitive in years.
With that, the Galway manager has set about building a squad with strong prospects of bouncing immediately back from last year’s relegation.
The former Wexford Youths manager has signed Conor Layng from Athlone Town. The Ballinasloe native made his first-team debut for Athlone in 2016, however, he has been more of a constant presence in the Athlone u-17 side.
An Irish Schools international, Keegan has spoken of the potential Layng has illustrated in his performances, noting those with the Irish Schools side.
Keegan also cited his conversations with the coaches involved with the international side which encouraged him to consider his services.
✍️ | Galway United have completed the signing of promising young striker Conor Layng from Athlone Town.
The highly-rated 18-year-old Irish schools international follows in the footsteps of fellow Ballinasloe Town graduate Eoin McCormack.https://t.co/6YlKghsyb7 #GUFC pic.twitter.com/UBWeLAGaub
— Galway United (@GalwayUnitedFC) January 20, 2018
A consideration that was cemented into action when he saw the striker’s prowess in an u-19 game between Galway and Athlone.
Keegan has no issues with throwing him in at the deep end with his own u-19 team, but it’s unlikely he will feature in the sides upcoming pre-season friendlies.
“You don’t want to put too much pressure on him. He will play for our under-19s and all going well, he will play week in, week out there. In the senior squad, there is a jersey there for him to go and fight for and I don’t think age should be a barrier for him trying to claim that.”
Galway will face Sligo Rovers on Friday night as their pre-season preparations continue.
Brian Strahan, Pundit Arena