Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine boo-boys don't worry me, says McGonigle

 

New challenge: Jamie McGonigle is starting to make his mark at Crusaders
New challenge: Jamie McGonigle is starting to make his mark at Crusaders
Lethal: Jamie McGonigle in goalscoring form for Coleraine

By Graham Luney

Crusaders striker Jamie McGonigle says he can handle the stick that will come his way from Coleraine fans on Saturday.

The 23-year-old frontman will face his old club at the Showgrounds for the first time since his bumper £50,000 move from the north west to the Shore Road in August.

Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney fought hard to hold onto the former Northern Ireland Under-21 international but McGonigle felt the time was right to embrace a new challenge.

It was a huge blow to Coleraine where the Dungiven native scored 65 goals in 179 appearances and also lifted the Irish Cup in 2018.

But the Crues, who also attempted to sign McGonigle last summer, kept up the chase and eventually landed their target.

The Bannsiders faithful are unlikely to extend a warm welcome to the striker on Saturday when he competes for the Premiership leaders but McGonigle isn't bothered by the reception that awaits him.

"I don't think it'll bother me much to be honest," he stated.

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"I expect to get some abuse from the supporters - but I love that.

"I've heard plenty so far in my four seasons in the game.

"I thrive on it and I think it's good to get a bit of stick.

"You're usually doing something well if you're getting it from the other team's support.

"But I left the club on very good terms with the manager, staff and players."

Once the transfer was completed, Kearney stated: "Jamie is a top person and player.

"I've always had a close relationship with him and his father.

"I am privileged to have worked with him and play a part in his development and I wish him all the best in the future."

Crues boss Stephen Baxter feels Coleraine were well compensated by McGonigle's move to the club.

"I merely look on it as another game of football for our players," said Baxter.

"Jamie McGonigle is a quiet lad who is only finding his feet here. He gave Coleraine an immense amount of quality since a very young age and we've paid a hefty amount of money for him.

"Coleraine will be pleased with that, in the end they decided to make that deal and ultimately he will carry on his football career and everyone will move on.

"Both parties dealt with how the move finished off extremely well and I'm sure the Coleraine people will reflect well on what Jamie has given them.

"When you go back you expect a 'boo', that's normal practice, but I think deep down they will reflect on a young fella who gave them a lot and made a decision to move on. I don't see any problem with that."

Meanwhile, Crues fans are being invited to attend Declan Caddell's Testimonial Dinner at the Europa Hotel on Saturday, October 5. Tickets are £50 or £450 for a table of 10.

Crues stopper Sean O'Neill said: "Declan deserves a big turnout and we are very much looking forward to paying tribute to a fantastic player and servant of the club."

Supporters can also purchase tickets for the two home games against Glentoran on Saturday, September 28 and Linfield on Friday, October 4 from the club's website.

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