NI Midfielder Boyd-Munce on a mission

Northern Ireland U21 midfielder Caolan Boyd-Munce. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Northern Ireland U21 midfielder Caolan Boyd-Munce. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

WEST Belfast teenager Caolan Boyd-Munce is a young man on a mission.

The midfielder wants to be a hit at Birmingham City, is determined to shine at international level for Northern Ireland and wants to make the people of Turf Lodge proud.

The 19-year-old is already doing that. Boyd-Munce made his first team debut for Birmingham in a League Cup game last month and to spend his spare time wisely he is studying for a Law degree with the Open University.

Tonight he is poised to play for the North’s Under-21 side in their opening Euro 2021 qualifier against Malta at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

Boyd-Munce, who has a sparkling personality to go with his football talent, has come a long way in a short space of time having started out with his local club Newhill before moving to Cliftonville, Linfield and then Glentoran where he made his first team debut at 16 in 2016.

A couple of months later he moved to Birmingham.

“Going to Birmingham at 16 was some change for me. I was a family boy from west Belfast. I was a mummy’s boy and left home for England with no one with me. It made me grow up that bit quicker,” he recalls.

“I had just finished my GCSEs and did really well in school. In Birmingham I have so much time and needed something to keep my mind occupied so Istarted doing a Law degree as I’ve always wanted to do law. I just thought why not?

“I’m doing it with the Open University. You do it online and you have your own tutors if you need them. I have just finished my first year and I passed with flying colours.”

It’s not the only test the Turf Lodge kid is passing. In June he signed a new two year professional contract with the midlands club and in August came off the bench to play for the Birmingham first team in a League Cup tie at Portsmouth.

“I was buzzing. It was a fantastic experience. My family were also delighted. It was on Sky Sports so they were able to watch it,” says Boyd-Munce.

“It was some moment for them seeing me come on and seeing my name on the back of my shirt…those simple things. I think Mummy (Louise) might have shed a wee tear or two and my dad (Stephen) was very proud too. I have a wee brother and sister Conan (3) and Chloe (10) and they were loving it. After the game my phone was going off the hook.

“I’m very proud of my roots. So many great people have come from the Turf Lodge area. It doesn’t get the reputation it should have because it’s a great place.

“I know other sportspeople from Turf Lodge have shown the area in a good light and I’d like to try and do the same.”

Boyd-Munce is hoping for more first team chances with Birmingham this season. First though his focus on shining for Ian Baraclough’s Northern Ireland under-21 side tonight.

“I really like the playing style under Ian and we are excited to get going,” he says.

“Our aim is to qualify. Down the line my aim is to make the senior team.”