Belfast Telegraph

Kearney hails McGonigle's new Coleraine deal

By Graham Luney

Coleraine's astonishing season shows no sign of slowing down with their Northern Ireland Under-21 striker Jamie McGonigle agreeing a one-year contract extension.

The Dungiven man has joined Chris Johns, Adam Mullan, Ciaron Harkin and Ian Parkhill in signing new deals at the Showgrounds.

The 21-year-old, who has made 106 appearances, scoring 34 goals since making his debut against Institute in January 2015, has pledged his future to the Bannsiders until June 2020.

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney was delighted to complete the swift business with his top goalscorer from last season with 19 goals in all competitions.

"I spoke with Jamie after the North West Cup game on Tuesday night and everything was agreed in five minutes," Kearney said.

"Nowadays players take time with agents and their family, but it's refreshing to see that Jamie agreed the extension straight away.

"We want to keep our best players at the club and Jamie falls into that category. He has scored a lot of goals for us and will continue to score goals at this level.

"Since Eoin Bradley has been injured, he has taken on his role so to speak in holding the ball up and leading the line and has been superb.

"We have signed five players down to longer contracts and it's good they all want to be here and I don't want to lose any of them."

McGonigle said: "It sounds like a cliché, but it was an easy decision to put pen to paper and obviously the other lads signing new deals was a major incentive for me.

"Oran and the management staff have been excellent and keep pushing me on.

"I just want to knuckle down now and keep scoring goals and help the team progress."

Meanwhile, Coleraine's experienced defender Steven Douglas says the league leaders, who host Glentoran tomorrow, remind him of happy times at Linfield.

"It's a great environment to be in right now and it reminds me of my Linfield teams and being part of those successful squads," said Douglas.

"Obviously you've got to have quality in your dressing room to be successful but team spirit is important too and I can see what is happening at Coleraine being very similar to my time with the Blues. There is a great buzz about the place and the lads enjoy each other's company.

"People will look at the league table and say we are 10 points ahead of Linfield and that represents a great start, but that's all it is. The Blues are a formidable outfit and they should come storming back."

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