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Academy Bring In Irish Duo, Midfielder Sacked & Banned

Sunderland have snapped up a pair of hotly-tipped Irish youth players for the Under-18 side next season and beyond, plus one of that side has left on work experience. Oh, and one's been a very naughty boy.

Stu Forster

Sunderland have moved to add a pair of talented youngsters to the youth set up for next season and 2014 after snapping two of the hottest prospects in Ireland.

Joining the side next season will be goalkeeper James Talbot, who was crowned the Irish Schoolboys Player Of The Year earlier this month for his performances with Home Farm FC and the Under-16 national side.

Talbot told the club's official website today;

As soon as I got here I knew I wanted to sign. I felt at home and everything was great. The coaches, the other staff, the pitches - it is brilliant.

The club have also been looking further into the future with the acquisition of Dan Casey, who will join the club in 2014. Casey was also a winner (of sorts) at the fore-mentioned awards ceremony as he scooped up the third place prize.

Meanwhile in youth news, 'keeper Joel Dixon has joined Workington Reds on a work experience deal. Reds regular goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell has been invited to train with Newcastle United and the team were in need of a quality replacement. Dixon is still finding his feet at youth level and a move will do him the world of good.

Lastly one former Sunderland youth teamer has been a very naughty boy. It has been revealed that former midfielder Lewis Gibbons has been given a two-year ban from football after testing for traces of cocaine and cannabis after a game against Aston Villa in 2012.

Academy boss Ged McNamee spoke about Gibbons' punishment through a club statement;

Lewis not only let our club down, he let himself and his team-mates down massively. We took the strongest possible action in terminating his contract as every footballer knows the severe consequences of this type of offence. We have, however, worked to ensure that support and assistance was available to the player and his family through what has undoubtedly been a difficult and challenging time for them.

It's fair to say his career is over before it even started now. It's really quite unbelievable that these young players are given every opportunity in the world and some still screw it up like this, and it's fair play to the club for kicking him out.

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