Belfast Telegraph

Kevin Braniff released as Portadown face 'harsh reality' of failed promotion bid

Kevin Braniff has agreed to the termination of his Portadown contract.
Kevin Braniff has agreed to the termination of his Portadown contract.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Former Northern Ireland international Kevin Braniff has been released by Portadown while former Warrenpoint midfielder Sean Mackle could also leave the club.

The moves come after boss Matthew Tipton bemoaned the 'harsh reality' of his side's failure to gain promotion to the Danske Bank Premiership and warned that the current wage expenditure may have to be reduced.

Braniff and Mackle both joined the club last summer, putting pen to paper on two year contracts.

Former Glenavon star Braniff, 36, has agreed to the early termination of his deal while Mackle has been placed on the transfer list.

Ross Larkin, 19, is also on his way out of Shamrock Park after rejecting a contract offer.

Portadown finished third in this season's Bluefin Sport Championship table but lost out 2-0 to Carrick Rangers, led by former Ports boss Niall Currie, in the play-off. Carrick went on to defeat Ards and seal their spot in next season's top tier.

For Portadown, a third successive season outside the Premiership awaits.

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“I haven’t worked out what I am going to do in terms of player-wise and everything else,” Tipton told the Sunday Life.

“We have boys who are in contract that we may find that we can’t afford to keep on the wages that they are on because maybe we kept them on those wages to try to get us into the Premiership, and the harsh reality of football is that we haven’t got there, and whether it’s going to be sustainable, I don’t know.

“We’ll just work and do what we do and make sure what we do is better than what we’ve done this season.”

Portadown confirmed earlier this month that Andy Kilmarton, Jamie Douglas, Mark Carson and Jerry Thompson had all left the club.

However, staying on at Shamrock Park are Adam McCallum and Liam McKenna, who penned new two year deals, and Greg Hall, who signed a one year contract.

Northern Ireland Under-21 international Declan Dunne is also understood to be lined up to spend a second season on loan from Cliftonville.

“We’ll have to sit down and work out a new plan and go forward with that,” added Tipton.

“Next season will be just as tough. Newry City are coming down and Ards too, it’ll be tough, but we still have to win games and get promoted.”

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