Ethan Devine has been rewarded for his goalscoring heroics in Linfield’s title success with an extension to his contract taking him up to 2025.
The 21-year-old forward was a revelation in the closing weeks of the season after signing from Championship side Knockbreda, scoring dramatic winning goals home and away to Crusaders and against Warrenpoint Town.
Those precious strikes turned three draws into victories for David Healy’s side and made a monumental difference in the Blues claiming title number 56 and finishing above runners-up Cliftonville to earn a place in next season’s Champions League.
Healy said: “Ethan joined us in January and everyone is aware of and grateful for the huge impact he’s made since he came on board.
“His goals made a major contribution to our recent league success and Ethan has proven to be a popular addition to the squad. He’s picked up a few Young Player of the Year awards and he’s well thought of by the supporters.”
The Linfield boss is certain more is to come from the young striker.
“He’s only 21 and has a bright future in the game ahead of him if he continues to work hard and maintains the positive attitude he’s shown since he joined us,” stated Northern Ireland’s record male goalscorer.
“I’ve no doubt that he’s earned this extended contract and I’m equally sure that this news will be well received by our supporters who’ve warmed to Ethan’s wholehearted style of play.
“Ethan is happy at the club and I’m delighted that he’s shown this faith in the club by agreeing to sign this extended contract.”
Devine is determined to kick on at Linfield, declaring: “I want to score as many goals as I can and win as many trophies as I can when I’m here and I’m looking forward to playing in Europe and can’t wait to express myself. I’m buzzing the fans took to me so quickly and I’m loving it and I can’t wait to get started again.”
In preparation for their Champions League qualifiers, Linfield have announced they will host Welsh side Newtown on June 25 and Stephen Robinson’s Scottish Premiership outfit St Mirren on July 2.
With departing Rangers star Chris McKee primed to sign a full-time deal with Linfield after a successful loan spell and Robbie McDaid set to move across the city from Glentoran, Healy’s striking options look strong for next term .
Meanwhile, Glenavon have snapped up ex-Glens goalkeeper Rory Brown on a three-year deal following his loan spell at Ballinamallard United, though midfielder Jack O’Mahony has moved on after rejecting an offer to stay.
Elsewhere, Dean Jarvis is leaving Larne while Philip Lowry has signed a new one-year extension to stay with Irish Cup winners Crusaders, who have agreed a two-year extension with Chris Hegarty.
The Seaview side have also announced that former player and fan favourite David Rainey has taken over as the club’s Under-20 manager.
Rainey played for the Crues between 2005 and 2013, netting 79 goals in 221 appearances.