Dungannon Swifts boss Dean Shiels issues 'hands off' warning over Darragh McBrien

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Dungannon Swifts boss Dean Shiels says there is “no chance” that in-demand forward Darragh McBrien will be leaving Stangmore Park any time soon.

The former Northern Ireland striker also says the days of higher-profile clubs swooping to cherry pick the County Tyrone club’s best young players are “over”.

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Sunday newspaper reports claimed that Dungannon have already knocked back a Linfield offer of between £50,000 and £60,000 for McBrien.

And Shiels says the pacy 20-year-old, who joined the Swifts on a three year contract from Ballinamallard United in the summer, will be staying put.

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“Darragh is part of our project, he’s a diamond of a kid and he wants to be with us,” he said.

“Can I understand why there is interest in him? One million percent and I expect big things from him, but he is a Dungannon player.

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“We don’t have to sell any of our players and the days of teams coming and hand picking Dungannon Swifts players are over.

“Darragh signed a three year deal and he has two and a half years of that contract left, so there is no chance he will be leaving.”

Shiels’ decision to tie McBrien to a long term contract when he made the player his first signing as Swifts boss in May is looking like a masterstroke with every passing month.

The former MacRory Cup winner with St Michael’s College, Enniskillen, has pace to burn, he’s technically adept and has emerged as one of the Irish League’s hottest prospects.

He can play in a number of attacking roles, has scored six league goals and is Dungannon’s joint top scorer alongside Ryan Mayse who bagged the winner in Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Larne.

“I knew what I was getting in the summer when I worked so hard to sign him,” said Shiels. “He is dangerous in any attacking position and he is getting better all the time.

“I actually look forward to watching him, lots of people around Dungannon are excited by him and he’s only going to get better.

“Harry McConkey deserves a lot of credit for helping develop Darragh at Ballinamallard and working with him now, he’s always learning and improving.

“He’s a top kid and the sky’s the limit for him.”

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