IRISH LEAGUE: Dungannon deal done now Northern Ireland international can focus on Manchester United

Liam Hughes signs his three-year professional deal with Dungannon Swifts. Looking on are, from left, Dixie Robinson (under 20s' manager), Rodney McAree (first-team head coach) and Keith Boyd (chairman). Pic by Simon Graham/Dungannon Swifts.
Liam Hughes signs his three-year professional deal with Dungannon Swifts. Looking on are, from left, Dixie Robinson (under 20s' manager), Rodney McAree (first-team head coach) and Keith Boyd (chairman). Pic by Simon Graham/Dungannon Swifts.

Dungannon Swifts have signed one of the country’s most promising young goalkeepers following confirmation of Liam Hughes’ arrival.

Hughes made his Danske Bank Premiership debut last season for Portadown but has opted to sign on at the Swifts on a three-year professional contract.

The Northern Ireland youth international is part of the squad for this weekend’s SuperCupNI clash with Manchester United and Swifts boss Rodney McAree expressed his delight at the deal.

“I think it’s a fantastic achievement for Dungannon Swifts to have attracted Liam Hughes to the club,” McAree told the club’s official website following completion of the move last weekend. “He is one of, if not the best, under 18s’ goalkeepers in Northern Ireland and he is a couple of years younger than that.

“He has already achieved a Danske Bank Premiership appearance with Portadown last season and he comes to us with some great recommendations.

“We have also watched him on many occasions and are delighted as a club to have a prospect like Liam joining us at Dungannon Swifts.

“We were very keen to sign such a great prospect, especially as he plays in such a specialist position.

“We felt it necessary to sign him on a professional contract so we knew he would be part of our squad for the next three seasons, at least.”

Hughes is relishing what he described as “a great opportunity”.

“Dungannon Swifts has a great set-up, with great coaches and very professional facilities,” said the teenager. “I am also looking forward to being part of the County Armagh SuperCupNI squad.

“It will be great to play against some of the best young players from around the world.”