Belfast Telegraph

Lowry is revelling in Ports adventure

By Stuart McKinley

Philip Lowry has revealed how a chain of unrelated events led to him signing for Portadown.

And the former Linfield and Derry City midfield ace is delighted that Shamrock Park boss Ronnie McFall offered him the chance to return to the Irish League.

Lowry had walked away from the Candystripes last October without seeing out the League of Ireland season to take up a job in London and didn't think about pulling the boots back on until questions from family and friends during a Christmas trip home sparked his interest again.

"Football had taken a back seat for me when I went over to London in October," said Lowry.

"I had been playing full-time at Derry City and even when I was at Linfield it's pretty full on playing there.

"I'd been there since I was 18 as well, so I had the best part of 10 years doing that and I'm only 26 now.

"I had a lot on my plate and I had to make a lot of sacrifices. Your family suffers and my girlfriend as well - I hadn't always been there for her.

"When I was at home at Christmas all my friends and family were saying 'are you not playing any football anymore?' I just thought that life is too short to throw away something that I've done well at and it worked out for me."

While one Portadown native missed out on Lowry, the Shamrock Park faithful are enjoying seeing him wearing the red shirt of their team.

Former Northern Ireland international Keith Rowland had been close to signing him for Wingate & Finchley, the team he manages in the Ryman Premier League.

Instead, Lowry headed for Armagh and showed the fans what he is all about when he struck a spectacular goal in a 3-1 win over Coleraine in the Irish Cup a fortnight ago.

Today he will sample his first mid-Ulster derby when the Ports travel to Glenavon and the journey to Lurgan is an easier one for Lowry to make.

"I was very close to signing for a club. When I went back over after Christmas I chased up a few contacts that I had and got the ball rolling with a couple of teams and had got quite far with one," he said.

"Keith Rowland was the manager, but the logistics of playing for Portadown actually work better.

"London is a lot bigger than anywhere in Northern Ireland and getting from one side to the other isn't always that easy and with training and matches I would have been away from home more than playing for Portadown and it's nice to come back a day or two every week."

Calling Lowry may have been a gamble for McFall, but it is one that paid off and so far it's an arrangement all parties are happy with.

"I had a nice couple of months away and I didn't actually miss it too much, but when Ronnie phoned me and we were aware that we could make it work I snapped his hand off really," said Lowry. "It's just a short-term thing at that minute, so I will enjoy it while it lasts."

Belfast Telegraph


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