Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

County swoop to hand Boyce his full-time dream

SPL bound: Liam Boyce has joined Ross County

Liam Boyce has landed his dream return to full-time football by joining Ross County.

The Northern Ireland striker has signed a pre-contract agreement with the Scottish Premiership club.

Boyce was a free agent after his contract expired at Cliftonville where he netted 60 goals in the past two title-winning seasons at Solitude.

The Reds were hoping the striker would keep terrorising defences in local football's top flight, but Boyce never hid his desire to try his luck across the water.

Linfield also held talks with the former Werder Bremen-man, but Boyce now has a chance to hone his skills in the SPL with the Staggies.

County boss Derek Adams said: "We have been tracking Liam's progress for a while now and are delighted to have completed his signing.

"Liam had opportunities in Scotland and England, but after visiting us last week he has chosen to join Ross County.

"He is a proven goalscorer and has recently been called up again to the full international team."

Boyce has made four appearances for Northern Ireland and was included in the squad for their recent friendlies in Uruguay and Chile, but did not feature in the matches.

League of Ireland giants Shamrock Rovers also showed an interest in Boyce, but County have won the race for his signature.

Meanwhile, Coleraine have completed the signing of midfielder Neil McCafferty.

The former Portadown and Dungannon Swifts man put pen to paper on a two-year contract.

McCafferty is Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney's second acquisition of the summer, following the capture of Joe McNeill and his arrival helps fill the void left by Steven Lowry's departure to Linfield.

"We are delighted to have brought in Neil," said Kearney after completing the deal.

"I believe he will add a lot to our side.

"He is a player who comes with a lot of experience both in this league and also from his time in England.

"There was a lot of competition for his signature so we are pleased that he sees his future with us."

McCafferty, who left Shamrock Park after four seasons this summer, can't wait to begin this new chapter in his career.

"I'm looking forward to getting going now and meeting the rest of the guys in pre-season," said the 29-year-old.

"Coleraine is a good set-up and there are some very talented players here."

Wylie's girls anxious to end goal drought

Alfie Wylie is determined that the Northern Ireland women's team break their goal scoring drought in Bosnia today (4pm kick-off) if they have any chance of making an impact in the World Cup 2015 qualifiers.

Both teams have failed to win a match during the campaign, with their best results two scoreless draws each – including the previous meeting at Mourneview Park last October.

The Bosnians have scored twice in their five outings, while Northern Ireland are bottom of the group and without a goal in half-a-dozen matches.

Wylie has no doubt that the effort of his players will, eventually, be rewarded with goals.

"Our work rate and effort is excellent, we've been doing really well, but we're struggling to score" said Wylie.

"It happens to all Northern Ireland teams, but we need to get the ball in the back of the net."

WIth a home clash against group leaders Scotland next Thursday, Wylie is aware today is the best opportunity to break their goal duck in the group.

"Bosnia came here last year and they parked the bus so they're a hard team to beat, Sweden only beat them 1-0," said Wylie.

"But we have big players in the team like Julie Nelson, Ashley Hutton and Nadene Caldwell and they've show that they're truly dedicated, making sacrifices and giving fantastic service to Northern Ireland.

"We haven't won the games we would have liked but Bosnia is a team we look to win against – they're above us in the table so we look to get above them."

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