Belfast Telegraph

Johnny McMurray to leave Ballymena for full-time Irish League deal

Johnny McMurray
Johnny McMurray

Ballymena United forward Johnny McMurray will leave the club at the end of the current seasaon after signing a full-time deal with an unnamed Irish League club.

McMurray, who has scored five Premiership goals this season, says that it is the right time to make the move.

Championship winners Larne and last season's Premiership champions Crusaders are the two Irish League clubs that are currently working on full-time models with Larne most strongly linked to the player's signature back in January.

Larne boss Tiernan Lynch has said: “There’s definitely interest in him. He’s a good player and he would make a difference to what we do. He’s a lad that I like. I worked with him for three years in a Belfast Met Academy from the age of 16 to 19. He’s a good kid who is honest as the day’s long and he could do very well for Larne for a number of years if we could agree something."

David Jeffrey revealed that he has known 'for some time' that McMurray would be leaving Ballymena.

McMurray has spent three seasons with the Sky Blues, scoring a total of 24 Premiership goals but has had his share of injury concerns as well.

On leaving the club, he told the Ballymena United website that going full time is "something I've been looking to do my entire life.

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"Obviously at times I had hoped it would be in England or Scotland but that wasn't to be and it's come up here. It's a new challenge and with studying and work it just became the right opportunity at the right time.

"There were a few clubs interested from here and down south, and alongside having the opportunity to stay at Ballymena United I had a lot of options, but with full time football on the table I felt it was the right thing to do at this time."

The club announced the decision four jours before Saturday's final game of the season at home to Crusaders.

Boss David Jeffrey said: "It is unusual to announce a player leaving before the final game of the season, but for Jonathan's effort and achievements we want the supporters to know that when he leaves the pitch today it is an opportunity to say thank you and goodbye.

"We wish him all the very best for the future and I hope that the dream of full time football gives him all the happiness and joy he deserves."

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