Teenager Luke O’Donnell pens 12-month contract with Derry City

Luke O'Donnell (right) and Ruaidhri Higgins

Luke O'Donnell (right) and Ruaidhri Higgins Credit: Derry City FC

Premier Division title hopefuls Derry City have confirmed that teenager Luke O’Donnell has penned a 12-month contract with the club.

The 16-year-old made senior bow for the Candsytripes at the end of the 2023 campaign and has reportedly been on the radar of clubs from outside of Ireland in recent weeks.

But he has opted to remain at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium for another year at least.

“We’re aware that there has been interest in Luke from clubs outside of Ireland,” City boss Ruaidhri Higgins said. “But at just 16, he has time on his side.

“It’s important for him to keep working hard and to keep listening to the coaches but he already knows that.

“He has real potential and it’s up to him to make the most of his opportunity.”

And the player - from Buncrana - added: “I’ve heard of interest from various places, but the most important thing for me right now is to work hard here and try to compete for a place in this team.

“We have a lot of top quality players at the club, but I have confidence in myself and if I keep working hard I feel I can contribute to our season.

“There’s a really good buzz about the squad heading into the new season.”

Meanwhile, Derry have also confirmed that defender Daithi McCallion will join Ballymena United on loan until the end of June.

McCallion, 18, spent last season at Finn Harps.

And City coach Mark McChrystal said: “Daithi will definitely benefit from playing regularly, and Ballymena can provide him with the chance to do that.

“They have plenty to play for between now and the end of the season so there should be good opportunities for him over the next few months.

“This could prove to be a big step in Daithi’s development and we wish him well on the loan move.”