Meet the son of a former Irish League and Northern Ireland striker that might just be the country's most lethal forward this season

Jack Coyle in BetMcLean Cup action for Institute against Glentoran at The Oval, Belfast. PIC: INPHO/Matt Mackey
Jack Coyle in BetMcLean Cup action for Institute against Glentoran at The Oval, Belfast. PIC: INPHO/Matt Mackey

In fact, the 22-year-old might just be the most lethal striker in Northern Irish club football this season after netting 23 times in six matches for Ardmore, meaning he astonishingly scores, on average, one every 23 minutes.

It shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise given he’s the child of a man who retired as Derry City’s record goalscorer (112) and was voted their greatest-ever player in Derry Journal’s poll ran in 2020.

Liam, who also had spells in the Irish League with Coleraine, Omagh Town and Glentoran, won two League of Ireland titles, three FAI Cups and was capped by Northern Ireland in 1989 – just like his father Fay, Jack’s grandfather, who was selected for the 1958 World Cup in Sweden – proving goals really do run in the Coyle family.

Jack is now carrying that tradition on after signing for NWJL Premier Division outfit Ardmore this summer, scoring five times on competitive debut in an 11-0 victory and has since followed it up with seven in their Junior Cup win over Caw and another six last weekend in a 14-2 rout of Aghadowey.

"I could probably have had more with the chances I've missed!" he laughs. “I'm really enjoying it.

"We played two pre-season games and I couldn't hit a barn door in them and I was thinking 'these boys aren't going to think I'm very good'!

"I scored five then straight away and then they were happy and knew they had a player.

"Everything you hit in those games just fly in. There are some games where you can't score no matter what you do, but those games are class to play in and it's really some feeling."

Coyle has also previously played for Derry City’s reserves and moved to Institute ahead of last season after impressing for Greencastle.

He scored on Championship debut against Annagh United and followed it up with another versus Coleraine in the North-West Senior Cup, but injury curtailed his involvement with ‘Stute.

The young striker switched to Creggan Swifts, where he scored hat-tricks in consecutive cup finals, and says he now feels ready for another crack at Irish League level after almost giving up the sport completely.

"I played with Oxford (United Stars) when I was 15/16 in the Intermediate League and I found it hard when I came through to men's football,” he added. “I went to Greencastle where John Quigg, who managed me at Derry too, was manager and he got me back playing again.

"I had a good season down there and he got me back into the swing of things and now I'm back playing well.

"I owe it to him because I was about to pack in football altogether, but he brought me back.

"When I went to Institute I wasn't fit because I was carrying a knee injury.

"I scored on my debut, but 10 minutes later had to go off injured and couldn't get rid of it. I was playing hurt and was out of the team, so I left.

"I'd love to go back into senior football to give it a proper go. I think I'm ready - I don't think I was last year when I was at Institute.

"I remember my dad telling me I still had another year to go because people can develop at different times so I might have needed longer, but I didn't listen to him! I think I'm ready now.

"When you're scoring five or six a game at any level, no matter who you're playing against, it's some going so my confidence is high now.

"I know myself that I'm playing well so why couldn't I do it at a higher level?"

Coyle also has his sights set on creating a piece of Ardmore history this season and is already halfway to completing it in November.

"At the start I was just looking to score a couple of goals per game and I'd be happy, but I think Calvin (McAllion, former Institute and Dergview striker) holds the record for 50 goals in one season,” he said. "I have 23 in six games so I'm halfway there.

"I'd say he will catch up with me because there will be a couple of games where he scores five or six himself. I have to try and keep my distance!"