Belfast Telegraph

Cathair Friel thrilled to have made a positive start to life with Ballymena United

Ballymena United 3 Cliftonville 2

By Stephen Alexander

Cathair Friel is hoping to continue Ballymena United's rich tradition of unearthing talent from the Limavady area.

Over the years, players such as Gerry Mullan, Michael Guy and Dessie Loughery have come from the north west town to star for the Sky Blues and Friel is hoping to join that illustrious company.

The 23-year-old was plucked from Championship Two after a goal-laden spell with his hometown club and his capture has proved an astute piece of business by David Jeffrey.

His goal in Saturday's 3-2 win over Cliftonville took a wicked deflection off Reds skipper Jason McGuinness but Friel was quick to point out: "I'm claiming it - 100 per cent!"

Friel had an opportunity to swap the Roe for the Braid in January when then United boss Glenn Ferguson made enquiries.

"I stayed at that time because I had my sights set on winning the league with Limavady and breaking their goalscoring record for the season which I managed to achieve.

"I didn't know what would happen at the end of the season because Glenn had left Ballymena and I thought maybe my opportunity had gone."

His strike was sandwiched between two Tony Kane penalties after Davy McDaid had given the visitors the lead and Ross Lavery's late strike wasn't enough to salvage anything for frustrated Reds boss Gerard Lyttle.

"I think Ballymena worked harder and I think they maybe wanted the three points a little bit more than we did," he said.

Ballymena: Blayney, Ervin, Owens, Loughran, Wallace, T Kane, Thompson, McCloskey (Faulkner, 77 mins), Millar, McMurray, Friel. Unused subs: Glendinning, E Kane, Gage, McCaffrey.

Cliftonville: Mooney, Cosgrove, McGovern, McGuinness, Seydak, Curran (Hughes, 65 mins), Harkin, Winchester, Garrett (Lavery, 46 mins), McDaid, J Donnelly. Unused subs: Bonner, A Donnelly, G Donnelly.

Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge)

Man of the match: Tony Kane

Match rating: 7/10

Belfast Telegraph


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