Jeffrey completes double signing of strikers

Johnny McMurray has joined Ballymena United from Cliftonville, following a successful spell on loan at Warrenpoint Town. Picture: Pacemaker Press.
Johnny McMurray has joined Ballymena United from Cliftonville, following a successful spell on loan at Warrenpoint Town. Picture: Pacemaker Press.

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey has taken his number of summer arrivals to seven after signing strikers Johnny McMurray and Neil Lowry.

McMurray (21) joins from Cliftonville but he rose to prominence last season with an eye-catching spell on loan at Warrenpoint Town.

Neil Lowry has rejoined Ballymena United after a spell playing in Austria.

Neil Lowry has rejoined Ballymena United after a spell playing in Austria.

Jeffrey said: “Jonathan has been on our radar for some time and (scout) Paul McAreavey also brought him to our attention.

“He has stood out when playing against us – a big, strong, quick and technically sound player.

“He found his opportunities limited at Cliftonville and took the the brave step out last season to get playing regular football at Warrenpoint, and it’s clear to see that he flourished.

“We took our time with Jonathan and discussed our vision for football here at Ballymena United.

He saw this as an opportunity to accept a new challenge to step up and as with all other new signings, was committed to signing under the new wage structure here.

“I’m absolutely delighted that Jonathan has come in as he fits the player profile we are seeking – hungry, ambitious and wanting to really push himself to prove his ability on the big stage.

Ballykeel man Lowry returns to his hometown club after a spell playing in Austria for lower division side BKS Bischofshofen.

The 22-year-old made 51 appearances - often used as an impact substitute - in his previous spell at the club under Roy Walker and Glenn Ferguson, scoring three goals, while he was also on trial at cross-channel clubs including Middlsebrough and St Johnstone and Jeffrey is delighted to add further strength in depth to his attacking options.

“I’m also delighted to be able to re-sign Neil Lowry to his home town club.

“Neil spent a footballing lifetime here before going off to pastures anew, but he’s still young, has height, pace and knows where the back of the net is.

“He had lucrative offers from other clubs but, in a similar vein to Denver Gage, he feels he has unfinished business here and wants to come back to truly fulfil the potential that we all know he has.

“Special mention to Bryan McLoughlin who is integral in every signing, but particularly in this case his effort put in was most noteworthy to bring Neil back home.

“Also thanks to our sports therapist Gordon McCartney and Dr Brian Patterson who facilitated medicals early this morning for both players - it is very important to recognise that there is a team effort attached to bringing in new players.

“Finally can I just say that our work continues. We have brought in new faces and will continue to seek out those that we believe will add something to the squad, and particularly sticking to our aim that we want to see Ballymena men lining out in a Ballymena team to bring success to the Ballymena community,” added Jeffrey.