Larne boss Tommy Kincaid has been busy on the player trail since he came back from his holiday break and his talks have borne fruit in terms of signatures on paper, because he signed three new players on Monday night – one of them a former Glentoran midfielder!
“I’ve obviously been very busy since I came back, checking up with players I had spoken to before going off and touching base for the first time with a number of others whom I feel could probably do a decent job for Larne. And I’m delighted to say three have put pen to paper,” he said.
“William Wharry will be a name that is familiar to the supporters because he played for Larne before, during the Jimmy McGeough era, I believe.
“Last season he was with Ballyclare Comrades and he seems like he has been around for a while, even though he’s still only 25 years old.
“A recognised centre-back, he’s what I would describe as a robust experienced defender and I think he will prove to be a very significant acquisition.
“Samuel Devine is 24 and stands tall at six feet and an inch. He can play right-back or in midfield and is a player of considerable promise. He was with Ards last season.
“And the other is probably the best known of the three new signings, Ryan Berry. He was also with Ards last season, but he will better known as a Glentoran midfielder. He’s got loads of experience and I’m delighted to get him,” added Kincaid.
Berry showed immense promise as a teenager with impressive many displays for Glentoran, including when he featured in the 2006 Irish Cup final defeat against Linfield. He didn’t score many goals for the Oval side - just two in 74 appearances - but one of them was a crucial winner in the 2008 County Antrim Shield final.
He moved on to Ballymena United for a year but dropped down to Championship One, wearing the Ards jersey last term.
“It’s not as if I’m trying to recruit 10 or 12 players or anything like that - far from it. I had said that I was after two, three or maybe four maximum. That’s 16 now on the books.
“I wouldn’t mind adding a couple more – another defender and perhaps somebody who can be effective in a wide position.
“So I will keep plugging away and I have absolutely no doubt that I will get there. Time is on my side and things are always tricky at this time of year because players know they have lots of time to consider their options before they need to make up their minds.
“I tried to sign Paul Muir, who used to play for Lisburn Distillery amongst others, but he had enjoyed his time with Harland and Wolff Welders last season and has decided to stick with them for another year.
“And, of course, there was the big disappointment of not getting Gary Haveron on board – because I was pretty confident he would come to Inver Park. He decided to sign for Carrick Rangers instead, but there was nothing more I could do to get him.
“I offered him what I felt was a very good role as player-coach and we wanted him to take on the captaincy as well. When we talked with him I believed the signs were very optimistic and I only named him publicly because I was fairly certain he would be accepting the deal.
“I bear no ill-feeling, of course, because that’s how things are in football and I really genuinely wish him all the best with Carrick,” explained Kincaid.