Sports

Braniff hopes for Seaview start

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Braniff hopes for Seaview start thumbnailDouble goal scorer Kevin Braniff is congratulated by team mate Kyle Owens in Saturdayís Tennentís Irish Cup tie with Harland and Wolff Welders. GB06Kevin Braniff P56

NEW Ballymena United striker Kevin Braniff would love to be in the starting side which meets Premier League champions Crusaders on Saturday at Seaview (3pm), writes Shaun O'Neill.
The 33-year-old made a name for himself in his weekend debut against Harland and Wolff Welders in the sixth round of the Tennent's Irish Cup at Tillysburn Park - scoring twice after coming on as a sub a couple of minutes before half time.
The classy striker admitted it was hard luck for Joe McKinney, who limped off injured - "I was happy getting on the pitch, but it was unfortunate for Joe. I want to be playing and I hope I have given myself the chance to play against Crusaders," he said.
Braniff said he wants involved in every game - "If I am on the bench, I'm on the bench, if I'm playing, I'm playing. I will take it from there," he said.
Braniff has signed an 18-month contract with the Sky Blues.
United manager David Jeffrey is delighted at getting the striker - at the third time of asking!
Twice when at Linfield Jeffrey went in search of Braniff, but both times nothing materialised.
Now, in what was a brilliant shopping spree during the transfer window, Jeffrey has got his man.
“His (Braniff) touch, his awareness, and his quality is evident," Jeffrey told Guardian Sport. "Getting Kevin is a real boost to the group. It will increase competition levels."
Jeffrey will have striker Johnny McMurray checked over this week.
The hit-man missed the weekend Cup tie with a groin injury.
McKinney, with a niggling knee injury, will also be checked.
United go to Seaview on Saturday a vastly strengthened and improved side from the one that kicked off the season on the end of a 6-0 beating by the Crues.
Jeffrey is keen to get something from the trip as the race for a top six finish hots up.
Meanwhile, last week manager Jeffrey announced he has tied up four of his players with extended contracts.
Top scorer Cathair Friel has signed until 2020, while colleagues Johnny McMurray, Leroy Millar and William Faulkner will be at the Showgrounds until 2019.
“ I am absolutely delighted that Jonathan, Leroy and William have signed two year extensions, and Cathair a three year extension," said manager Jeffrey.
*Read the full story in this week's Ballymena Guardian.

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