Belfast Telegraph

Jeffrey already helping me hit new heights, says Owens

By Graham Luney

Ballymena United's defensive giant Kyle Owens may be 6ft 5in but he says David Jeffrey makes him feel much taller.

Owens was immense in the League Cup final at Seaview and a clean sheet against Carrick Rangers allowed Allan Jenkins and Conor McCloskey to blast the Braidmen to glory.

Former Linfield boss Jeffrey has now brought his trophy count up to 32 but this is his first piece of silverware as United chief.

"It's great to have so many good players and the manager who is the best in the country by a mile," said Owens.

"We will keep digging in and hopefully see out the season strongly. David is second to none. I'm a young player coming through and this is my first year in the Premiership. I'm 6ft 5in but he has me feeling like I'm seven foot!

"He gives you that extra bit you need to improve. He's like a father figure to the players and he motivates you to win. Hopefully there are more trophies to come and this is just the start."

Owens was determined not to leave Seaview with regrets.

"I wasn't nervous, I wanted to stay calm and I certainly didn't want to go home with a losers' medal," added the 24-year-old ahead of his side's trip to Ballinamallard United today.

"We put Linfield out and it was a great effort to get to the final so I'm glad we came out winners and we will enjoy it.

"I think we did deserve it over the 90 minutes. I think we were the better team. They played well but we kept things tight at the back. You know what to expect with big Allan Jenkins, he is different class. It couldn't happen to a better fella. He's a credit to our changing room and to himself."

• David McAlinden has confirmed he is stepping down as Larne boss at the end of the season.

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