A few months of hard graft lie ahead for a man who could possibly be the happiest Lisburn lad around this week.
Ben Kennedy made his Football League debut for Stevenage last Saturday in their 2-0 home defeat to Oxford United.
After what is another milestone in the 18 year-old’s promising football career, Ben says he is now desperate to land a professional contract at the club when his youth deal runs out at the end of May.
“My next aim is just to keep working hard and take every game as it comes,” he said. “The next step then would be to be offered a professional contract at the end of this season.
“I just want to continue doing what I’m doing and working hard.”
It was Kennedy’s first appearance for the first team and he’s hoping he’ll get more opportunities to nail down that professional deal before the end of the season.
“I was so pleased to get on the pitch,” he told the ‘STAR.’
“I’ve been patient over the last while and it was absolutely great to get my chance in the first team.
“I’ve been playing well for the Youth Team and the Reserves lately. I’ve been brought up to training with the first team and have travelled a few times but that was the first time I was on the bench.
“I came out for the second half and one of the physios shouted over, “Ben, get warm.”
“I couldn’t believe that I was actually coming on.
“It was a great experience even if I don’t get another chance this season but hopefully I can get a few more opportunities.”
The Youth Team skipper almost scored with a smashing volley that was only denied by a wonder-save from Oxford keeper Ryan Clarke.
“I thought I played quite well once I got on and I thought it was a dream come true when I hit that volley,” said Ben.
Kennedy also paid tribute to all those who helped to springboard him to the cusp of a professional football career.
“I wouldn’t have got here without the help from my mum and dad and my old clubs Lisburn Youth and St Oliver Plunkett’s.”
Keep an eye out for this ex Fort Hill pupil, who is sure to hit your screens if another of his volleys finds its way in.