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Linfield snap up promising young striker Lorcan Forde

By Adam McKendry

Linfield have signed exciting young striker Lorcan Forde from Warrenpoint Town on a three-year contract as David Healy's Windsor Park rebuild gathers some momentum.

After a disappointing season, the Blues have moved quickly to bring in one of the most promising prospects in the Irish League in Forde who, at just 18, turned heads last season with some spectacular performances.

Despite scoring just four goals in 29 league appearances for the Point, Forde was a bright spark up front and could recognise his potential with the likes of Jamie Mulgrew and Andrew Waterworth around him at Linfield.

His stand-out displays earned him a trial at Burnley, as well as several suitors from across the water who wished to bring him to the English leagues, however he has settled on joining Linfield and continuing his development in the Danske Bank Premiership.

Striker was an area that Healy acknowledged he wished to strengthen in, with the loss of Paul Smyth to QPR and Andrew Waterworth's constant battles with injury a real problem, and he is done so by swooping for Forde.

Healy commented: "Lorcan is one of the best young talents around and he's certainly a player we've had in mind for quite some time. We've been keeping a close eye on his progress and we've been impressed by his pace, energy and youthful enthusiasm.

"He will provide real options for us in the striking areas and I believe in time he will turn out to be a huge signing for us. I'm delighted he's put pen to paper and has committed his future to us and I'm really looking forward to working with him when he joins us for pre-season training.

Warrenpoint Town chairman Connaire McGreevey passed on his best wishes to Forde, saying: "The last few seasons Lorcan has showed that he has got what it takes to play at the top level. He took on responsibility this season and played a huge role in keeping us in the Premiership.

"His performances have caught the eye of many clubs here and further afield. He got a feel for higher levels of football at Burnley last season while on trial and is set to continue to rise through what hopefully becomes a long and prosperous professional career in football.

"We thank Lorcan for all his efforts at the club and wish him all the best in this journey. We think this best for Lorcan and he departs with the blessing of everyone at Warrenpoint. Lorcan is a great lad with a lot of talent and has the right attitude to take him to the top level.

"We will miss watching him in action as he is a joy to watch with his dazzling skills but look forward to seeing him return soon, hopefully not to score against us!"

Linfield have also announced the signings of 18-year old Connor Maxwell from Ards on a two-year amateur deal and 19-year old Brandon Doyle from title rivals Crusaders on a two-year professional deal.

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Francis McCaffrey

Meanwhile, Warrenpoint have announced an arrival of their own as they revealed the signing of former Ballymena United midfielder Francis McCaffrey.

The 25-year old, once of Hull City, will move to the Q Radio Arena and link up with manager Stephen McDonnell at the start of next season after he was released by the Sky Blues earlier this week.

McCaffrey, who can play across the midfield, has also had spells with Dundalk in the League of Ireland and Glentoran in the Irish League, and will add significant experience to the Point in the middle of the park.

"(Francis) is a player I have admired for a long time and he possesses all the qualities that we are looking for," said Warrenpoint manager Stephen McDonnell. "He is coming in of the back of a successful period with Ballymena United and he adds more quality to our squad and competition."

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