CORK'S Tyreik Wright has signed a professional contract with Premier League club Aston Villa.
The winger is one of seven players from the club’s Under-23s who was given a professional contract on Tuesday afternoon.
The 19-year-old from Ovens has risen through The Lions’ academy since he first joined them in the summer of 2018 from Lakewood Athletic in the Cork School Boys League.
This season he played for Villa’s Under-23s in Premier League 2, before signing for Walsall on loan last January.
The winger made 16 league appearances for The Saddlers and grabbed three assists as the club finished 19th in EFL League Two.
This is another big moment for Wright in 2021, as he made his Republic of Ireland Under-21s debut earlier this year.
The winger was brought on as a substitute against Wales in a 2-1 win for the Boys in Green in a friendly last March.
He then played twice for Jim Crawford’s side last month in friendlies against Switzerland and Australia in Marbella in Spain.
The quick footed winger has been consistently impressing for the Republic of Ireland at underage level.
In 2017 he was part of the Irish team that won the Victory Shield in 2017.
That summer, he played a key role in Ireland’s run to the quarter finals of the Under-17 European Championship that year.
Wight’s assent through the academy structures is another success story for the Cork Schoolboys League in 2021.
Two weeks ago Caoimhin Kelleher, who started out with Ringmahon Rangers, signed a long-term deal with Liverpool FC.
The goalkeeper, who was once featured for Cork in the Kennedy Cup, made his Champions League debut in December 2020 when he started a crucial game against Ajax at Anfield.
Five days later, he played in the Premier League for the first time, in a 4-0 victory over Wolves.
Adam O’Reilly, who also started out at Ringmahon Rangers, signed for Preston North End in 2016 after impressing on trial.
He was most recently on loan at Waterford FC in the League of Ireland Premier Division, and his performances were praised by manager Marc Bircham, who has worked with a host of top clubs such as Queens Park Rangers and Millwall, told local media: “He is contracted with Preston and he has another year or so.
"He has been brilliant for us, but he is going back.
"He was exceptional in Longford and he was terrific again tonight."