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Coleraine boss Kearney delighted to win race for Johns

By Stuart McKinley

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney has bolstered his goalkeeping department after signing Northern Ireland Under-21 international Chris Johns.

The 20-year-old, whose father Paddy is an ex-Ireland rugby international, knocked back interest from other clubs to join the Bannsiders.

Johns has impressed for Championship 1 side Bangor this season, who he joined last summer after being released by Southampton, where he spent four seasons.

He will now compete for the No.1 spot at the Showgrounds with Michael Doherty and although the initial contract only runs until the end of the season, Kearney is already looking beyond that.

"We are delighted to bring Chris in," said Kearney, whose team will take on champions and league leaders Crusaders tomorrow.

"There was a lot of interest in him from several other Premiership sides. He has been training with us and has been very impressive in the sessions so far.

"Chris has done his duty across the water, and a couple of English clubs were keen to sign him up in the summer, but he decided to return home to further his studies.

"He is initially signed until the end of the season, but I would be hopeful to extend his stay here.

"Along with Andy Findlay he will provide excellent competition for Michael Doherty."

Johns is Coleraine's second signing since the turn of the year following the arrival of left-back Mark Edgar who, like Johns, had a spell in England having been with Blackburn Rovers.

Garth Falconer, meanwhile, has decided to leave the Bannsiders to return to Championship 1 team Dergview.

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