FOOTBALL: Matthew Tipton's delight at double deal for Kevin Braniff and Johnny Flynn
Portadown manager Matthew Tipton has confirmed two top-flight additions to his Bluefin Sport Championship squad with deals for Kevin Braniff and Johnny Flynn from Ballymena United.
Tipton considers both to add leadership and experience alongside proven Danske Bank Premiership talent as he prepares the Ports for next season's promotion push.
Playmaker Braniff returns to Shamrock Park after making over 200 appearances during a previous spell which ended in 2014. Flynn has spent time on the books of clubs in England and Scotland alongside an Irish League career with Ballymena United and Cliftonville.
"I'm delighted to get both in, the deals have been on the back-burner for a few weeks but, out of respect to David Jeffrey and Ballymena United, we refused to announce anything until after the club's Europa League play-offs.
"It is bringing in experience to help guide what we know is a good crop of young players.
"That need for more leadership is something I identified when I joined the club as manager towards the end of the season.
"Johnny is a centre-back who was a long-term target of mine and he can help bring on our two young centre-backs in Ross Larkin and Adam McCallum.
"He is a good height, vocal and a real presence.
"Everyone here knows about Kevin's talent but, specifically, we found last season at times we struggled to unlock teams and that is his game.
"We have now added Kevin and Johnny to the previous deals for Sean Mackle and Darren Murray, with all increasing the quality already about the club and level of signings that show we are serious about promotion.
"Thanks also to David Jeffrey, he has been brilliant to deal with at Ballymena over the course of the deals.
"I'm happy with the squad and you never want to say never but the aim is to finalise one more deal, another young player.
"It is going to be a tough Championship next season given the quality of the clubs but I can only focus on our work and believe it is enough to get us back up to the Premiership."