Paul O’Neill has set his sights on following in the footsteps of three of his recent predecessors after being named as NI Football Awards Dream Spanish Homes Young Player of the Year for the 2019-20 season.
The 20-year-old, who lit up the Irish Cup final when he scored a stunning goal to give the Glens a first-half lead, has seen his career go on a sharp upward protectory in a short space of time and he’s not finished yet.
Next on his list of targets is to follow 2016, 2017 and 2018 winners Joel Cooper, Paul Smyth and Gavin Whyte by securing a dream move into cross-channel football.
“It’s brilliant to get this award after the first full season when I’ve played regularly,” said O’Neill.
“I started most games and scored a few goals – especially in the Irish Cup final and I’ve over the moon to get the award.
“Trying to get across the water is still my main ambition. There was a bit of interest and if I can keep doing what I’m doing and scoring goals then hopefully it will come about for me.”
For now O’Neill remains an important part of Mick McDermott’s squad at The Oval as the Glens target more silverware in 2020-21.
After a summer which has seen a large number of new arrivals in east Belfast O’Neill will face a challenge to keep his place, but it’s one that he is relishing, as well as the expected major push to bring the league title back to the club for the first time since 2009.
“We’ve brought in a lot of new players, eight new signings and we will be pushing for the league. We’ll at least be up there challenging with a big strong squad. We’ve two good players for every position and we’ll be going all out to challenge for the title.”