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15-Year Old St Pat's Debutant Is The Next Name For Ireland Fans To Keep An Eye On

15-Year Old St Pat's Debutant Is The Next Name For Ireland Fans To Keep An Eye On
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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St Patrick's Athletic recorded an important victory in the League of Ireland Premier Division last night, scoring three second half goals to secure a 3-0 victory over Drogheda at Richmond Park.

After their struggles to start the campaign and the departure of manager Tim Clancy, this result moved them up to fifth in the table and bolsters their chances of making a European push over the second half of the campaign.

While the result was the most important thing, another aspect of the game would have been fantastic to see for the club's supporters.

At the age of 15 years and 232 days old, Mason Melia came off the bench to become the club's youngest ever league debutant.

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This was no token gesture either. Melia was introduced when the game was still level at 0-0, making a big impact as he helped his team to a win.

Mason Melia the next young Ireland player to watch

While this will be the first time many Ireland fans have heard of Mason Melia, he has already come up with some eye-catching moments at this point in his career.

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That included in his senior debut for St Pat's, where he scored an absolute cracker against Wexford in the Leinster Senior Cup back in February.

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He has also produced at international level.

Despite playing a level above what you would normally see from a player his age, Melia scored a hat-trick for the Ireland U17 side in their Euro qualifier against Ukraine in March.

He has been included in the final squad for that tournament, which kicks off in Hungary later this month.

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Speaking to the Irish Independent after last night's game, St Pat's interim boss Jon Daly had nothing but praise for the youngster.

When you are thinking โ€˜I need a goalโ€™, I saw him score numerous goals for the U-19s, I saw him score against Wexford in the Leinster Senior Cup. I know he can finish and I know his movement is good.

Sometimes it is that little bit of luck you need. Eoin Doyle was suspended. Weโ€™re at 0-0 and if you look around and see Eoin and you're probably going to put him on. Tommy Lonergan has been unwell in the last few days. Sometimes it is that bit of luck.

I said to Mason and Rhys (Bartley) down in Cork (last week), they are not just there to make up the numbers. They are there on merit. Obviously they are there because weโ€™re short on bodies, but they are there because they have been playing really well at U-19s and playing above their age in the academy.

The first real chance he had was cleared, Adam Murphy to Sam Curtis, whipped across and Mason made a great run across the front post, the defender got there and cleared it.

If that had gone in it would have been straight off the academy pitch, three lads lining up. You turn to Mason because you need a goal. I trust him to get a chance or get a goal. Heโ€™s made an impact and helped the team win 3-0.

With quite a few exciting Irish youngster emerging at the moment, Mason Melia is certainly another name to add to the list.

He is one to keep an eye on in the years ahead.

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