Gage happy to play his part

Denver Gage grabbing his goal for Ballymena United against Ballinamallard United. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Denver Gage grabbing his goal for Ballymena United against Ballinamallard United. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Ballymena United’s Denver Gage is living the dream after scoring against Ballinamallard United at the Showgrounds on Saturday.

Life long United fan Gage is in his second spell with the club and was delighted to be among the goals in the 4-0 victory.

“When I left the first time I always thought I would be back. I am just glad to be playing because on the second day of preseason I hurt my calf muscle.

“But I got myself back to fitness and I have been fine since three or four weeks into the season. However the team went on their unbeaten run, so I had to sit tight, train hard and wait for my chance.

“It is hard because I am a supporter and you want to see the team do well, but I wanted to get in the team.

“It is hard not being in the team as you feel you are not doing anything. It is tough - so it was good to start today, get the goal and the team won as well,” he added.

And Gage says it was great to see his header fly into the Ballinamallard goal.

“It was great for me and it was great for my family.I was at my sister’s wedding on Friday and loads came to the match, so it was great to score.

“My family are great because I train Tuesday, play for the reserves Wednesday and then train Thursday. It is tough going with work and a young baby so it was nice to score and” have the family here,” he added.

And Gage knows that away to Ards on Saturday will not be easy.

“They have beaten us twice already this season. They are a good side and they are very hard to beat at home. Niall Currie has them well organised but we will go there looking to do a job,” said Gage.

Meanwhile, manager David Jeffrey was pleased man after the 4-0 victory against the Mallards.

Jeffrey was relieved to get points on the board after watching his side’s recent defeats to Glenavon and Ards which undid their 10-match unbeaten run.

It was hard going for United in the first half as a young Ballinamallard team played some good stuff but thanks to goals from Johnny McMurray (2), Denver Gage and Cathair Friel the job was done.

Jeffrey admits he was happy with his side’s performance.

“The first half was hard because they worked very hard. Big Lecky and Lafferty up-front for them did well and McCabe in the midfield was very good.

“But the difference was we did our basics well and Ross Glendinning made a great save and Johnny Flynn made a great block on the line.

“If we do the basics well we will score goals,” he added.

And Jeffrey admits he wants the best United to turn up for every game this season.

“We want to build a culture here where United don’t get themselves up for the so called big and glamorous games and then for the less glamorous games they don’t turn-up.

“After our great run, we then played Glenavon and I didn’t think it was a 5-0 defeat. Come Tuesday night against Ards it wasn’t because they had a bad attitude or a poor attitude.

“They just didn’t have a wise attitude and they thought they did not have to work as hard or do the basics as well as they had been doing.

“Ards were worthy winners and we looked pretty average on the night and I said to the players ‘ all the glamorous games against Crusaders etc, they are straight forward because you can get up for those as a player.

“But these games are where the best players show their mark because these are games that you decide your own future.

“The attitude today was good and we changed the team and the lads who came in did really well.

“Goal scorer Denver Gage must get a mention as he has worked so hard to get in the team.

“He was here before and things didn’t work out for him but he is back again and is working so hard to get in the mix.

“He is a Ballymena boy through and through and he deserved that goal,” he added.

And former Cliftonville striker Joe Gormley was in the crowd on Saturday. Gormley has been playing his football for St Johnstone in recent months but it seems he wants a return to the Irish League.

Jeffrey would not comment on the player but it seem United are keen on bringing Gormley to the Showgrounds.