United on trail of Longford's teen striker O'Hanlon
LONGFORD TOWN youngster Josh O'Hanlon is being targeted by a number of cross-channel clubs including Manchester United, who were impressed when the teenager scored two goals in a trial game.
O'Hanlon, a striker, joined Longford Town from St Kevin's Boys at the start of the 2013 League of Ireland season and he scored five goals for Tony Cousins' side, who missed out on promotion to the Premier Division after they lost a play-off to Bray Wanderers.
His form for Longford caught the attention of British clubs and once the season ended, offers came in to take the 18-year-old on trial. He impressed at League One side Peterborough United and then spent time at Manchester United, while in the coming days O'Hanlon will head off for trials with Premier League side Crystal Palace and Championship high-fliers Burnley.
Longford boss Cousins has confirmed that one offer from an unnamed club is already on the table but the player and his club will await the outcome of trials at Palace and Burnley.
"Josh did really well for us last season and I am sure that he has a great future in the game. It's a matter now of seeing what offers there are and what is best for the player, his family and the club," says Cousins.
"I saw him play for the Leinster Youths 12 months ago and I liked the look of him. He never had much luck with trials and had never been picked for the international team but he had something about him. He came into the Longford side and did really well," added Cousins. "He is six-foot-one, he has pace and strength and is very good on the ball. He has the attributes that a lot of clubs are looking for."
United's reserve team boss Warren Joyce was impressed when O'Hanlon scored two goals in a 3-3 draw in a trial game with United's U21 side, though it's uncertain if the Premier League champions will make a formal bid.
A number of young League of Ireland players have made a move to England in the last two seasons as cash-strapped clubs across the water try to find a bargain.
Jack Doherty (Waterford United to Ipswich), Sean Maguire (Waterford to West Ham), Kevin Feely (Bohemians to Charlton) and Jake Carroll (St Pat's to Huddersfield) have all earned moves after beginning their careers in the League of Ireland.
A batch of current LOI players are also in demand as Derry City's Barry McNamee (Brentford), St Pat's star Christopher Forrester (Bristol City) and Cork City's Daryl Horgan (Torquay United) have all been on trial in the last two weeks.