Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Crusaders ace Gareth McKeown eyes trophies

Gareth McKeown has signed a two-year contract at Crusaders because he knows the squad is good enough to pocket more silverware.

The right-back enjoyed a career highlight when he tasted Irish Cup glory with the Crues in 2009 and if selected against Coleraine at Seaview this afternoon, he will make his 100th appearance for the Shore Road side.

The Crues defence has endured a rough spell in recent weeks, with the 8-1 mauling dished out by Linfield unlikely to be forgotten in north Belfast.

But McKeown is looking to the future with optimism and he likes what he sees in the new Seaview dressing room.

“I’ve just signed a two-year contract and that tells you how happy I am at Crusaders,” said McKeown.

“Winning the Irish Cup was brilliant and that really made my mind up as we are a team that is moving in the right direction.

“The young lads are working hard and I know the talent is there to win more trophies. The Linfield result knocked us back a bit but the Donegal Celtic defeat also showed how much the defence needed to improve.”

The Crues released their grip on the County Antrim Shield this week when Glentoran conquered them at the semi-final stage.

“We were down in the dumps after the Linfield result but we restored some confidence in the win over Loughgall and our performance, particularly in the first half, against Glentoran was encouraging,” added the former Portadown and Lisburn Distillery defender.

“Of course we are disappointed not to get to the final especially after dominating the first half.

“Unfortunately we fell asleep in the second half for the opening goal and we left it too late to come back into it. But we are concentrating on the league and the need to get back on track.”

McKeown also heaped praise on midfielder Stuart Dallas who has sparkled for the Crues.

“He’s been brilliant,” he added. “In every single game he hasn’t disappointed anyone. The supporters love him and we are all overjoyed at his progress.”

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