Goalkeeper Rory Kelly is within 90 minutes of securing a life-changing professional contract with either Swindon Town or Leyton Orient.
The 21-year-old has progressed to the final of Samsung’s nationwide ‘Win a Pro Contract’ competition along with 10 others having been whittled down from more than 5,000 entrants. After signing from Derry City, Kelly, a journalism student in Liverpool, played four times for Finn Harps last season.
Kelly impressed in the semi-final trial- an 11 a-side match held at League Two outfit, Swindon’s County Ground - and was selected for the final by Swindon boss, Paolo Di Canio and Leyton Orient manager, Russell Slade.
The Buncrana native and 10 other players will now face a Leyton Orient XI at the club’s Matchroom Stadium on next Wednesday
“I was happy with my performance in the last trial,” Kelly said. “I played well and felt comfortable throughout the match. The standard of football was very good. There are some really talented players left in the competition so it’s going to be tough to win it.
“I’m going to enjoy Christmas and then start preparing for the final. It’s exciting to think that I’m so close to a professional contract. It would be unreal to play football for a living - the stuff of dreams. Hopefully I’ll perform to my best and that will be enough.”
After the final, Di Canio and Slade will invite a select group of players to train for a week with their respective first team squads. The managers will then pick one player and offer them a one-year professional contract.
Sky Sports will broadcast a three-part series on this season’s Samsung ‘Win a Pro Contract’ competition.