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Clubs step up chase for wanted Irish League strikers McMurray and Gormley



Ballymena's Johnny McMurray and Cliftonville Joe Gormley are wanted men.

Ballymena's Johnny McMurray and Cliftonville Joe Gormley are wanted men.

Ballymena's Johnny McMurray and Cliftonville Joe Gormley are wanted men.

Crusaders will hold talks with Ballymena United's transfer-listed striker Jonathan McMurray next week in a bid to beat Linfield and Larne to the player's signature.

The Crues, however, could miss out on landing the 24-year-old because they may not be able to match a financially lucrative offer from Championship leaders Larne.

Larne, who can rely on the significant financial backing of Purple Bricks magnate Kenny Bruce, are also understood to be monitoring developments on Cliftonville striker Joe Gormley, who is a wanted man north and south.

Shamrock Rovers have bid around £60,000 for the striker and, although Crues boss Stephen Baxter is a long-time admirer of the 29-year-old, Seaview sources don't expect the Reds to sell Gormley to their bitter derby rivals.

Cliftonville are hopeful Gormley, who is under contract until the summer of 2020, will extend his stay at Solitude, but big spending Larne have the financial resources to net the former Peterborough United man in their latest big swoop.

Meanwhile, two Irish League transfers were finalised on Thursday as Coleraine pipped Derry City to the signing of Jamie Glackin. The winger agreed a two-and-a-half year deal to again link up with boss Rod McAree, who he played under at Dungannon Swifts. The 23-year-old made only 12 Premiership starts since moving to Seaview in summer 2017 and was placed on the transfer list last week.

Glentoran have also bolstered their attacking options with the signing of Darren Murray until the end of the season.

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Murray played under current Glens boss Ronnie McFall during a four-year stay at Portadown from 2012 to 2016. After spells at Cliftonville, Warrenpoint and Crusaders, Murray returned to the Ports during the summer but was released last month, manager Matthew Tipton explaining that the striker could not fully commit to the demands of playing for the club.

"I know Darren has had a difficult couple of years but he played for me for three and a half years and in that time he scored 70 goals in around 120 appearances," Glentoran boss McFall told the club website. "Even last season he scored 14 goals in the Premiership and this season he got 5 goals in his last 6 matches for Portadown. There’s no risk in signing Darren as a player because I think he’s one of the best in the division and exactly the sort of forward we’ve needed here for quite some time."

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