A YOUNG North Tyrone footballer, who still harbours the burning ambition of a full-time career in the game, is currently loving life in the Danske Bank Premiership at high-flying Glenavon.
On Saturday the Lurgan Blues underlined their title credentials with a resounding 4-1 victory to end Coleraine’s long unbeaten run at the Ballycastle Road showgrounds.
Dylan King, who signed for Glenavon after spells at Oldham Athletic and Motherwell in the summer, has been a key member of Gary Hamilton’s table-toppers.
It was a big decision for former Tyrone Milk Cup player King to leave the full-time game for the Irish League but the 20-year-old defender believes it’s a move that will pay dividends in the long run.
“I had interest from lower league clubs in England, Conference and stuff but I thought the way the Irish League was going and with boys like Paul Smyth and Bobby Burns getting moves across the water showed me that the league was picking up,” he said.
“Once I spoke to a few clubs here it convinced me that maybe coming back for a year or two and getting more game time might be a good option for me.
“It’s really good at the minute, we’re flying and I can’t complain. It took me a while to settle in but once I got my full fitness and my place I think I have done well, really enjoying it.
“I spoke to a few Irish League clubs just to get a vibe and I opted for Glenavon. The amount of young players flourishing at Glenavon was certainly noted. Our manager loves giving young players their opportunity.
“I was weighing up what was best for me as a player and certainly the fact that young players were getting their chance there was a big selling point.
“That’s not to say that other clubs don’t do that, but the amount of young players who came through Glenavon was hard to ignore.
“The standard of the Irish League is much better than I thought and to be honest playing regular football and enjoying it is much better than being at the likes of Motherwell and getting little game time.”
Ultimately though King yearns a return to the full-time game and on his days off continues to train at a level with that goal still in mind.
That said playing in the Premiership and seeing how some players have managed to chisel out excellent playing careers in the North and in the SSE Airtricity League has certainly given him food for thought in terms of what options may be available to him.
For the next season or two the centre-back is intent on enjoying life to the full at Mourneview Park and establishing himself as something of a household name.
“Once I came back I thought I need to get myself back across but getting games under my belt was the priority and that will determine where it takes me,” added the Artigarvan man.
“I now realise there are a lot of good careers that can be had in the Irish League and League of Ireland, so that has given me a slighty different perspective.
“Obviously I would like to get back because that is the pinnacle but for the next year or two the priority is to get as many senior games as possible.
“Looking beyond that the ambition will be to try and get first team football in England. Scotland or wherever that may be.”