Teenagers Tristan Knowles and Trevor Matthews have left Ardee Celtic to join up with the Monaghan United Cavan Football Partnership – with the talented duo set to test themselves at League of Ireland Under 19 level.
The club announced on Wednesday that the pair had left the club with whom they have been both been involved for their formative years. They link up with the Monaghan Cavan partnership where they will get the opportunity to test themselves against underage sides from clubs such as Dundalk, Bohemians, Shelbourne and Sligo Rovers.
Knowles spent much of the the 2016/17 season lining out for Ardee Celtic’s first team. Just 16 years of age when he made his first team debut, he made an immediate impact at the start of the campaign with two crucial goals in wins over Kentstown Rovers and Athboy in the NEFL Division 1.
He remained a key member of the extended first team squad as the season progressed and started the campaign’s first Ardee derby against Square United, as well as making a substitute appearance against Boyne Harps in the club’s promotion/relegation playoff at United Park last month.
Knowles also turned out for the club’s third team and Under 17s last season, as did Matthews, who captained the side the Under 17s. A versatile player, Matthews can play at centre back, central midfield and on the left. Matthews was named the Ardee Celtic Under 17 Player of the Year at the club’s juvenile awards day earlier this month.
Speaking to ThisIsArdee.ie, Ardee Celtic juvenile secretary Frank Dowdall said the duo were exemplary players and fully deserving of their move. “It’s great for the two boys. They’re still under 17 but they’ve signed for the Under 19 squad so they have two years at that level.
“The two boys have been here since they could kick a ball. They’ve come up through the system. They’ve always played. Both of them got a taste of senior football a few times last year. Trevor’s a good lad, a wholehearted player. His attitude has been exemplary and that’s probably why he’s gotten this. I can’t rate him highly enough.
“Tristan is a good kid too but the two of them have a lot to learn,” Dowdall continued. “It used to be that if you wanted to get seen, you had to go to Dublin. But that’s not the case anymore. If you stay local, play your football local – you’ll get picked up if you’re good enough.
“I couldn’t be happier for Tristan and Trevor. We’re delighted. It’s fantastic. I’d also like to commend the coaches that they’ve worked with while they were here at the club.”
The duo join teammate Neill Kerr as graduates of Ardee Celtic’s academy who have gone onto to play at national League of Ireland level. In January, midfielder Kerr joined Dundalk FC’s youth section having been with Celtic since he was six years of age.
The Monaghan United Cavan Football Partnership was formed in April 2015, to provide a platform for underage players in the Cavan and Monaghan Region and hinterland to experience the highest levels in national competition in the country. They compete in the FAI Airtricity League of Ireland Under 17 and Under 19 leagues.
The side play their home games at Gortakeegan Park, former home of Monaghan United’s senior team – who folded and exited League of Ireland in 2012.