Shay McCartan has caught the eye on his return to Gaelic football following a near ten-year spell in professional football.
The Glenn John Martin’s forward signed for Burnley in 2010 after being named County Down’s player of the tournament following his performances at the Milk Cup a year prior.
McCartan was destined for a shot at professional football but it was also going to come at Down GAA’s loss. The former St. Colman’s student left these shores having won MacRory and Hogan Cup medals with the school, scoring the only goal in the latter’s final.
The livewire forward also scored a hat-trick for Down minors in their bizarre 3-11 to 5-4 defeat to Armagh in the 2011 Ulster minor football championship.
That was the last notable appearance McCartan made in Gaelic football. The move to Burnley didn’t work out but McCartan made over 100 appearances for Accrington Stanley, scoring 24 goals. He later moved to Bradford City and spent last year on loan with Lincoln City. McCartan returned to Bradford in 2020, scoring four times in the club’s run to ninth in the table before the season was suspended due to Covid-19.
The knock-on effect saw McCartan released by the club in May and he has not signed for anyone since.
Return to GAA
In the meantime, the 26-year-old striker, who won two caps for Northern Ireland, has returned to play with boyhood club Glenn John Martin’s.
As reported by Andy Watters of the Irish News, McCartan had often trained with the club when home.
McCartan’s competitive return to Gaelic football has proved fruitful so far scoring three goals in three league appearances.
This goal is all class as McCartan runs onto the ball jinks past the defender and fires low into the corner.
Shay McCartan shows some of his soccer skills here as he expertly slots home a penalty.
In this one, McCartan uses his soccer skills yet again. This time, to get by two St John’s defenders before setting up a teammate. Later, he scores a brilliant individual goal following a superb run and finish.
This goal is worth watching multiple times.
Shay McCartan is currently without a professional football club. The forward will make his Down senior championship debut on Sunday against Bryansford at Pairc Esler.
Could he be in line to feature in the 2020 inter-county championship?
Video credit: Glenn John Martin GAC Facebook.