Clarke set to sign for Mallards

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Clarke set to sign for Mallards thumbnailRichard Clarke is set to sign for Ballinamallard United from Crusaders this week. SU1960MD

RICHARD Clarke is set to sign for Ballinamallard United this week.
The Crusaders midfielder has won back-to-back league titles in recent seasons under Stephen Baxter at Seaview since signing from Glentoran in 2014.
He made 160 appearances in five years for the Oval Club, picking up an Irish Cup, League Cup and County Antrim Shield honours. He had previously played for Newry City after starting out at Omagh Town.
The 31-year-old Castlederg man's opportunities at Crues become more scarce this season however, and the move also presents an ideal opportunity for the Omagh High School teacher to be closer to home and his young family.
"It is ideal for me," said Clarke. " I've a wife and two young boys, and they take up a lot of my time. I've been travelling to Belfast for eight years, and I was at Newry for four and a half. So it is definitely time for me to get closer to home and look for a new challenge. "The travelling was difficult, and the game time has been limited with Crusaders. Thankfully Stephen and I came to a good agreement. He wanted me to stay on, but I just felt it was time for me to move and get more game time."
Clarke was aware of the Mallards' interest from former Omagh Town team-mate Andy Crawford, who is part of Gavin Dykes' back-room team at Ferney Park.
"I'd knew they were keen to get me, and Andy was continually monitoring the situation. They'd confirmed when the season finished they are interested.
"When the league ended, I had to sit down and think about things. Ballinamallard was interested and that was the only place I wanted to go.
"I think they've had a tough season. They had to come back early due to the debacle with the play-off situation. Thankfully they've managed to survive.
"For me, it's all about trying to bring a bit of experience to the team and a bit of know-how. There are a lot of young


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