'Proud day' for Irish League brothers as 15-year-old joins elder sibling on Premiership pitch for first time

While not achieving the desired result, Friday evening still marked a proud moment for the McGovern family as Newry City’s brotherly duo of John and Paul shared a Premiership pitch together for the first time.
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An injury sustained in April has kept Northern Ireland youth international John out of action for most of this season and he made just his second league start of the season in Newry’s 3-0 defeat to Glenavon.

Younger brother Paul, who is still only 15, came off the bench with 30 minutes to go at the Showgrounds to register a fourth Premiership appearance under Gary Boyle and showcased his evident potential.

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Boyle admitted that Paul came close to joining John from the start against the Lurgan Blues and he has been mightily impressed by the teenager’s progression.

Newry City's John McGovern was joined on the pitch by younger brother Paul during their defeat to Glenavon. PIC: INPHO Brian LittleNewry City's John McGovern was joined on the pitch by younger brother Paul during their defeat to Glenavon. PIC: INPHO Brian Little
Newry City's John McGovern was joined on the pitch by younger brother Paul during their defeat to Glenavon. PIC: INPHO Brian Little

"Paul has serious ability and he has been training with us from the start of pre-season,” he told the club’s media channel. “We had thought about throwing him in from the start this evening, but with the cauldron of an atmosphere that it might have been, is it fair on a 15-year-old?

"When he graced the field you can see how close he is and Paul will get more minutes. It's a proud day for the McGovern household with both brothers playing on the same pitch at the best level of football this country has to offer."

Newry are enduring a torrid run of results and remain rooted to the bottom following a seventh straight league defeat, scoring just three goals in the process.

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They’ve also conceded more than any other top-flight team (48) and Boyle says his side have to cut out individual errors if they want to start climbing the table.

"Everybody is frustrated,” he added. “I'm extremely frustrated. I knew when I took the job what it entailed and I obviously envisaged it going better than what it has done.

"We always speak honestly and say the table doesn't lie. Until we start turning that corner we're going to find it really difficult. I didn't think it was a 3-0 game but we've been beaten 3-0 and anybody that was at the game knows how competitive it was. We have to stamp out the individual errors and that's what is killing us at the minute.

"Until we can stamp them out we won't get results - it's as simple as that. I've made mistakes, the players have made mistakes and we know that, but we have to do something about it very quickly."

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