Burnley FC sign defender Kevin Long

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BURNLEY have won the race for Cork City's teenage defender Kevin Long.

The Clarets battled it out with the likes of Everton and Celtic for the 19-year-old centre back.

Long, who can also play at full back, was recently called into the Republic of Ireland Under 21 squad, although he is yet to earn his first cap.

He is a product of Cork's youth structure, which also produced Kevin Doyle and Shane Long, before signing on professional terms in January last year.

Preston North End have taken a look at the player on trial, while Leeds United and Charlton Athletic have also been linked with him, but Owen Coyle said yesterday: "He's a young player who's a very exciting talent, but there's a host of clubs after him.

"We're just one of that host of clubs and we'll continue to do our best with that one.

"I can't say at the moment he's coming to us, but he's a player we like, he's 19, quick, strong and one for the future.

"He's not ready yet, but there are far bigger clubs than Burnley chasing him, so we'll have to do our best and see what happens."

Earlier this week, Republic of Ireland Under 17 central defender Neil Yadolahi joined the Burnley youth squad as a first year apprentice, from St Kevin's Boys' Club, as the Clarets start to see the fruits of their scouting network over the water, helped by the club's visit to play Bohemians last February, and Coyle said: "We've got terrific links in Scotland and Ireland, and I believe there's terrific players, as there are in England.

"What we do offer here is a chance for young players to come in, improve, and if they're good enough, they'll get the platform to play.

"That's a big thing for us, and hopefully if there's young players out there, of the quality we believe can enhance the club, we'll do our utmost to bring them here.

"We'll continue looking year by year."