Belfast Telegraph

I cried leaving Glenavon but I can play my best football at Ballymena: McGrory


By Graham Luney

Andy McGrory has admitted he shed a few tears while making his move from Glenavon to Ballymena United.

The versatile McGrory said it was one of the toughest calls he has made in his career so far.

He leaves the Lurgan Blues with cherished memories including the two unforgettable Irish Cup triumphs and that last-minute winning goal against Portadown in the penultimate game of the 2014/15 season which ensured the club's qualification for Europe.

After spending more than six years at Mourneview Park, the 27-year-old must have been tempted to agree to fresh deal incorporating a testimonial but the desire to secure regular first-team football proved too strong.

Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey has shuffled his pack and McGrory is excited about this new chapter in his career.

"Leaving Glenavon was probably one of the hardest decisions I've had to make in my career and a few tears were shed," said McGrory, who joined Glenavon in January 2012.

"It was a very hard decision but in the last two years, I haven't played as much as I would have liked and from Christmas time I just kept thinking it was time for a new challenge.

"I've a lot more to give as a player and at the age of 27, I feel I'm only starting to come into my peak years.

"Glenavon have a great squad and I've made many friends for life.

"They gave me some of the best footballing days of my life. How can you forget the two Cup wins and playing in Europe?

"But any footballer wants to play and it became harder to get into the team.

"The move came about quite quickly, over a few days, but I had felt for a few months that it was the right decision."

McGrory, who made 203 appearances for the Lurgan Blues and earned the reputation of being a spot-kick specialist, was impressed by new boss Jeffrey's powers of persuasion and added: "As soon as I spoke to David Jeffrey, he sold the club to me and I liked the vision for the future he had.

"If I can play week in, week out with United then supporters will see the best of me. I'm sure we can hit the ground running next season because United have a strong squad and David has brought several good young players to the club.

"I know Jude Winchester from my younger days at Linfield and James Knowles lives close to me in Lisburn.

"Jim Ervin and Tony Kane are top lads and players so with the calibre of player United has I'm excited about this new challenge for me and the season ahead."

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