Ronan Boyce celebrates 20th birthday with Derry City contract extension
RONAN BOYCE celebrated his 20th birthday by signing a long term extension to his current Derry City contract.
The Ramelton man has been one of the stand-out performers this season having established himself in an unfamiliar right-back position at the Brandywell club.
The centre half signed his first professional contract, an initial two-year deal, last January and has grabbed his opportunity with both hands, starting seven of Derry's last seven league fixtures.
Boyce, who made his senior debut for the club against Cork City in 2019, has certainly made the right-back position his own, holding off competition from Danny Lupano and Darren Cole who has made his way back from a back injury.
The former Republic of Ireland U19s representative, who scored his first senior goal against Drogheda United at Brandywell last month, was delighted to sign an extension to his current deal which will keep at the Brandywell club for at least the next three and a half years.
Boyce is relishing being part of Ruaidhri Higgins team and claims the City boss has given him confidence.
"I'm enjoying playing every week and being in the team," he said. "I never really played at right back before this season but Ruaidhri gives me all the confidence in the world. Eoin (Toal) and Cam (McJannet) will help me all the time so I'm just glad to be on the pitch and playing."
“I’m delighted to sign long term with the club and I want to repay their faith in me. I’ve felt good so far but I know as well that I have to get better.
“It’s up to me to kick on now. I have plenty of very good players around me and I’m learning from them every day. Ruaidhri has set very high standards since he came in and that’s what we have to aim for. We want to be trying to win things at Derry City but we are aware there is a lot of hard work ahead.”
Manager Higgins was full of praise for the youngster after he put pen to paper and said he was delighted that Boyce had taken his chance.
“He has been brilliant since I came in the door and indeed in the couple of games before that as well. This is something I wanted to do as soon as possible and I’m delighted we’ve come to a long-term agreement with Ronan.
"A lot of credit goes to Paddy and the Academy staff and all those past and present who have worked with him.
“He’s a dream to work with and sometimes you could give a young player a long-term contract and they could rest on their laurels a bit but that won’t be the case with Ronan- he just doesn’t have that in his make-up.
“This will only make him stronger and give him a platform to develop.”
Club Chairman Philip O’Doherty said the lengthy contract was in line with the Board’s vision for Derry City.
“We’ve said from the outset that we want to invest in the development of our own talent as well as look to attract quality players to the club. Ronan can have a very bright future ahead of him and we are really looking forward to seeing him progress over the next few seasons."