Belfast Telegraph

Exceptional McGinley is an exciting addition for Crusaders, beams Baxter

Crusaders 3 Warrenpoint Town 1

Fresh face: Reece McGinley has joined the Crues
Fresh face: Reece McGinley has joined the Crues

By Graham Luney

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter has confirmed the signing of Northern Ireland under-19 international Reece McGinley as he looks to mastermind a strong title defence in 2019.

McGinley joins new arrivals, goalkeeper Ger Doherty and midfielder Rory Hale, as fresh faces at Seaview hungry to fight their way into the first team.

The 18-year-old attacking player spent his early years at Liverpool Academy before linking up with Rotherham.

In April he agreed a one-year deal with Rotherham before going on loan to Frickley Athletic who play in the Northern Premier League Division One East.

McGinley is considered to be an exciting young prospect in the mould of Gavin Whyte who left the Crues for Oxford United earlier this year and the north Belfast side have offered him an opportunity to showcase his talents.

"We have signed Rory Hale, Ger and Reece McGinley," said the Crues boss. "The boys will help us in the second half of the season and it's exciting to see the new arrivals. Reece is an exciting young player and we are looking forward to seeing what he brings to the team. He's an exceptional player."

Crusaders warmed up for the Boxing Day tussle with Cliftonville at Solitude by conquering a plucky Warrenpoint Town side 3-1 at Seaview.

Goals early in the second half from Philip Lowry and David Cushley stunned the visitors and although Colin Coates' late own goal threatened to spoil the party, Ross Clarke rounded off the scoring in the last move of the game. The Shore Road side have now broken into the top four and have found fresh momentum after a tricky start to the season.

"Two games ago I heard we were in the middle of a slump but we will get on and play the games," added Baxter. "We don't have too much to say on that but what's important is we're playing good football and enjoying it."

CRUSADERS: O'Neill, Burns, Beverland, Coates, Lowry, Cushley (Patterson, 89 mins), Caddell (Snoddy, 87 mins), Forsythe, Ruddy, Heatley, Clarke. Unused subs: Doherty, Ward, Carvill, Holden, Brown.

Warrenpoint: McCarey, Foster, Hughes (Kelly, 63 mins), McGrandles, McCaffrey, Lynch, Watters, (O'Sullivan, 58 mins), Scannell, O'Connor, Norton (Donnelly, 58 mins), Wallace. Unused subs: Turker, Reilly, M Lynch.

Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge).

Man of the match: David Cushley

Match rating: 7/10.

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