February 28, 2024

Larne defender Craig Farquhar has completed a transfer to Premier League club Crystal Palace for an undisclosed fee, both clubs have confirmed.

The 20-year-old centre-back will be part of the Under-21 squad at Selhurst Park, managed by Darren Powell.

Farquhar follows in the footsteps of another former Larne player, Kofi Balmer, who moved to Palace in 2022.

“I’m delighted to be here, it’s such a big club. I’m glad to get everything over the line,” said Farquhar.

“I can’t wait to get started,” the former Ballymena United defender told the Crystal Palace FC website.

Farquhar came through the ranks at his hometown club Ballymena and was captain of their Under-20s side before progressing to the first-team.

He signed his first professional contract with Ballymena at 18 years of age and went on loan to second-tier Championship side Dundela FC, where he made 12 appearances and scored two goals during the 2021-22 term.

During the following campaign, Farquhar made 14 appearances for Ballymena, scoring two goals, including a header in a 2-0 Irish Cup semi-final against Larne to help his side progress to the final.

The defender joined Larne in the summer of 2023 and made 27 appearances in all competitions this season, including the Champions League qualifiers.

He made his debut in the Champions League against HJK Helsinki and quickly settled into full-time football with the Irish Premiership champions.

His club form also saw him earn international recognition with a call-up to the Northern Ireland Under-21 squad.

Palace Academy Director Gary Issott added: “Craig is a player that the club’s watched over a long period of time.

“He’s a young centre-half that’s experienced both first-team and European football early in his career and he has all the attributes to play at the highest levels in the game.

“Craig joins our Under-21s and will add competition in the defensive part of the pitch.” 

‘A significant step forward’

Larne manager Tiernan Lynch commented on the Larne FC website: “As a club we are disappointed to lose Craig as a player, because he has very much shown his worth to the team in a relatively short space of time.

“However, it’s a very significant step forward for him in his career and we are pleased to give the platform for another player to progress into the full-time game in England.

“As we said when we signed him we have shown with a number of times how full-time football at Larne can play a hugely significant role in helping a player to progress even further and Craig has done exactly that.

“Craig goes with our very best wishes and we will keep track of his career with great interest.”

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