Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders swoop to net Ross Clarke and Harry Doherty

By Graham Luney

Crusaders have signed former Linfield player Ross Clarke, while they are also expected to bring in young Carrick Rangers goalkeeper Harry Doherty for the new season.

Winger Clarke is set to agree a three-year deal after finishing the season on loan at Ards from Linfield.

Blues boss David Healy informed the 25-year-old he wouldn't be handed a new contract and the Danske Bank Premiership champions made a move. Clarke came through the Linfield Academy and played 83 games for the Blues before joining Ards at the end of January.

While his career has been disrupted by injury, there is no doubting the Kircubbin man's class.

Former Finn Harps shot-stopper Doherty impressed for Carrick Rangers but was powerless to stop the club sinking into the Championship. The 22-year-old from Buncrana was at Charlton and Brighton in his younger days.

He has also represented the Republic of Ireland at both Under-17 and Under-19 level.

Clarke and Doherty will join Kyle Owens, Gary Thompson and Michael Ruddy - who was confirmed last night - as new Seaview recruits.

Mark McChrystal, who has been linked with a move away from the Crues, has opted to remain at Seaview.

The former Derry City ace was rumoured to be making a return to the Brandywell but the 33-year-old is staying with the north Belfast club.

Manager Stephen Baxter has reshuffled his pack with Darren Murray, Brian Jensen, Michael Dougherty, Brandon Doyle and Craig McClean leaving the club while Michael Kerr has joined Ards on loan.

Meanwhile, Ballyclare Comrades have signed midfielder Gary Donnelly for the 2018/19 season after his release from Cliftonville.

And Dungannon Swifts have announced that defender Terry Fitzpatrick will join their backroom staff after his retirement at the end of last season.

The experienced 36-year-old played for ten years with the Swifts in the Irish League and will now assist manager Rodney McAree.

Fitzpatrick said: “I feel very proud to be asked to stay involved with the club that I have loved from the first game I ever played.

“I have personal ambitions to remain in the role for the next few years, hopefully helping the club create more history along the way.

“I look forward to picking up experience and learning from Rodney McAree in my new role within the club. I am excited to get started!”

Belfast Telegraph

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