Lennon Signs at The Showgrounds

Newry Manager Darren Mullen has continued to add to his squad securing the signature of experienced defender Ultan Lennon. Mullen commented “With Dara Noonan going to Australia and with Paddy Mooney still injured centre back was the one area that we still needed more depth in. Ultan joins us having played a huge part in Armagh City’s success in previous years and he is a player we tried to sign before. He has great potential and I feel that he can make a big contribution for us this season

Ultan Lennon “After many enjoyable years playing at Armagh City FC I am sad to leave but I am ready for a new challenge with Newry.  I know last season was tough for the team but I know Newry have the capability to be an established Premiership Club with the fans and facilities that are here and I hope that I can help make that happen.  I am familiar with a number of past and present Newry players who have told me great things about the club and hold Darren in high regard, so I am looking forward to the challenge ahead and can’t wait to get started.”

Photograph Courtesy of Brendan Monaghan Photography.

Maguire Moves On

A fans favourite will be missing from The Showgrounds this season as Stevie Maguire moves to pastures new at Dollingstown FC. A fans favourite not only because of his undoubted ability and his commitment to the club but also his endearing personality which won him many friendships at The Showgrounds which will remain long past his departure. Newry’s loss is Dollingstown’s gain but who will ever forget those crucial saves in Carrick.

Newry City Manager Darren Mullen commented “It’s fair to say Steven played a huge part in us making it to The Premiership. His performances in The Championship were of an extremely high standard especially in our play-off games. He was an extremely popular member of the squad and his attitude when not playing was an example to any player. I fully understand his wish to play regular football and we wish him all the best at Dollingstown. He knows he will always be welcome at The Showgrounds.”

Blast from the Past: Local lads light up the Showgrounds

Newry Town 2 NK Hrvatatski Dragovojac 0

By Tony Bagnall

Exactly twenty years ago today, two local lads hit the glorious goals that pitched Newry Town into a money-spinning second round Inter-Toto Cup clash.

The pair, Robert Casey and Adrian Larkin, were the only two locals on the park in Newry Town’s first home European match.

Anyway those two magical, golden goals were enough to beat NK Hrvatatski Dragovojac and send the Newry Showgrounds into a frenzy.

The scenes afterwards were total ecstasy, players dancing with joy and the Town managerial team of Joe Rice, Trevor Anderson and Johnny McDonnell, together with many of the fans, dancing with them.

And make no mistake Newry deserved to go through.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, they created most of the clear-cut chances, most of the more telling moves.

On the other hand the full time professionals from Croatia were a solid footballing side and over the 90 minutes they probably had more possession. Their approach work was tidy and methodical but when it came to the nitty-gritty, they fell down.

There were some awesome performances from the Town team. Robert Casey was a giant. He ran the show, tackled like a tank, was supreme in the air and sprayed the ball about.

An absolute colossus.

Then there was Alan Hall who ran Casey close. When the Town needed him, especially in the ten minutes before the break, he was there to be counted. He made at least three goal-saving blocks and was never ruffled.

John Kenny was another big man for Newry, the Sligo speed-merchant ran his heart out while Stuart McLean, Tony Scappaticci and Shane Reddish scarcely put a foot wrong.

And then there was Adrian Larkin. He clicked his heels on the bench in Croatia without getting a run-out and did likewise for 79 minutes at the Showgrounds. But when he got his chance … how he took it. It might not have been the classiest goal ever scored at the Warrenpoint Road ground but arguably, in the over 80-year history of Newry Town, it was the most important.

However, overall it was the well-organised Newry teamwork that won the day.

With the rain pouring down the Town went into the attack straight from the kick-off and Dessie Gorman shaved the Hrvatatski post with an overhead kick.

The game settled down after that with both sides sparring, looking for a weakness. Newry found it on 16 minutes. Shane Reddish floated in a right wing freekick and there was Robert Casey rising majestically from a crowded goalmouth to power a header off the inside of keeper Zankarlo Simunic’s right hand post. A stunning goal.

The crowd went wild and the Town almost repeated the act ten minutes later when John Kenny crashed a low drive into the side-netting following an Alan Byrne free kick.

Casey was then blown up for a foul on the Croatian keeper after winning an aerial confrontation but most were of the opinion that the Town player was wrongly penalised.

In the ten minutes preceding the interval the Croatian visitors pressed strongly but the Newry defence was in a resolute mood. John Drake got in the way of a piledriver on 35 minutes and five minutes later McLean did likewise.

And Alan Hall in the space of sixty seconds twice did well to block.

On 48 minutes Robert Casey had another chance to net but Dessie Gorman’s right wing cross was a little too difficult to control.

Kenny too went close; following a sizzling 40-yard run, his searing drive inched past the base of the woodwork.

On the hour Rutherford, at the back post, miskicked a John Drake free kick and then three Town players, McLean, Kenny and Gorman each failed to get a touch on a Rutherford corner that ripped tantalisingly across the face of the Croatian goalmouth.

With 19 minutes left John Kenny blazed an Alan Hall freekick over the top as anxiety set in.

There was a mere eleven minutes to go however, when Dromalane lad Larkin replaced Dessie Gorman.

Talk about an inspired substitution. Trevor and Johnny Mac take full marks.  One minute later, and with just his second touch, the speedy marksman struck gold with a vital goal.

Robert Casey began the move shrugging off a Croatian, before deftly flicking a pass to John Kenny with the outside of his boot. Kenny picked out Larkin and the man nicknamed Joey slipped the ball under the advancing Simunic. And though the Dragovojac keeper did get a hand to the shot he couldn’t stop it trickling over the line.

The Showgrounds erupted for the second time.

But in the final nail-biting moments the visitors had a couple of opportunities to take the tie – and all they needed was an away goal to make the next round of the competition. However, Tony Scappaticci made a magnificent tackle to thwart Marin Lalic and then Berdi Nevio’s fierce drive zipped past the angle.

But Newry held on – and deservingly so – to make history and become the first Irish team to win an InterToto Cup tie.

Newry Town: Kevin McKeown, John Drake, Tony Scappaticci, Alan Hall, Stuart McLean, Shane Reddish, John Kenny, Alan Byrne, Robert Casey, Dessie Gorman, Mark Rutherford and Subs: Barry Tumilty (who replaced Byrne at the interval), Adrian Larkin, Trevor Smith, John McDonnell and Josh Connelly.

Cover photo caption: Robbie Casey celebrates with Adrian Larkin after the Dromalane lad hit the winner in the InterToto Cup tie against NK Hrvatatski Dragovojac.

Adam Foley

City sign Adam Foley

Newry City manager Darren Mullen has bolstered his attacking options with the acquisition of striker Adam Foley on a one-year deal.

The vastly experienced Dubliner has enjoyed spells at Irish League level with both Glenavon and Portadown and is a signing that will excite City fans.

He played last season with his local club Glebe North in the Leinster Senior League where the 29-year-old finished up as the club’s top scorer and Player of the Year, while he also lined out regularly last year for the Republic of Ireland amateur team.

Foley revealed he almost signed for Newry in the January transfer window but a hamstring injury forced him to put the move on hold.

“I was talking to Darren in November or December time about coming up. We had talks about doing a deal in January but I had a bit of a hamstring strain. I couldn’t really shake it off so it wouldn’t really have been fair to Darren or myself if I wasn’t fully fit. But I’ve no injury now, I’m feeling fresh and ready to go.”

Foley says he has been impressed with the set-up at Newry and is focussed on helping the club get back to the Premiership.

“I was just having a look around the Showgrounds this morning. The ground and the facilities here are Premiership standard so it’s important we get back there this season.

“Obviously the lads were unfortunate last year, they were only a few games away from staying up in the end but hopefully with the team Darren is putting together it’ll be exciting times ahead and hopefully we can get the job done. We want promotion it’s as simple as that. I want to chip in with as many goals and assists as I can and I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of the lads in pre-season.”

City boss Darren Mullen is delighted to finally capture Foley’s signature which he described as “a massive signing for the club”.

“Adam has scored goals in The Premiership for Glenavon and comes to us with a wealth of experience.

“We needed that extra quality up front and with this signing along with our other recent additions we have certainly added that to the squad. I’ve no doubt Adam will be well received by everyone at the club and I’m excited to see him playing in a Newry jersey.”

Photograph courtesy of Liz Boyle

McCabe on board

Mark McCabe is the latest Newry City player to re-sign at the club for the upcoming season.

Mark follows a host of first-team players in committing to the cause for the 2019/20 season and City boss Darren Mullen said “it is a great boost for the club”.

Darren added, “Last year was a tough season for us all but also a great learning experience and I’ve no doubt Mark will be a better player for it. I know he is looking forward to playing his part in what we hope will be a successful season.”

Mark was the Championship’s joint leading scorer in 2017/18 and City fans will hope the 22-year-old can replicate that sort of form this term as the club seek to bounce straight back to the Premiership.

“I’m happy to sign another contract with Newry. I feel this year we will have a strong chance of getting promoted with the team we have and also the new signings coming in will definitely strengthen the squad,” Mark said.

“I feel confident Darren will do his best to get Newry back to where we belong in top-flight football. I want to regain my confidence in scoring goals and winning games which I feel I will do at Newry.”