FOOTBALL: Pre-season’s in full swing for East Antrim’s big three

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Pre-season’s in full swing and East Antrim’s big three are busy preparing themselves for the long road ahead.

Davy McAlinden’s Larne got the ball rolling on Monday evening with a testing run-out against Cliftonville at Solitude. The Invermen lost the match 4-0 but that will be of no consequence to the boss who had the opportunity to cast his eye over the sqaud.

Larne's new signing Ryan Kane in action against Cliftonville. INLT 27-940-CON

Larne's new signing Ryan Kane in action against Cliftonville. INLT 27-940-CON

Carrick Rangers have been back in training since last week and their warm-up games get under way with a trip to Sport and Leisure on July 16 before a game against the Glens on July 19. Carrick this week announced the signing of 21-year-old defender Patrick McNally who 16 appearances for Ballymena United last term.

Over at Dixon Park Ballyclare Comrades’ preparations for the new season are well under way and they tackle their first friendly this weekend when they face Coleraine on Saturday.

“We are really looking forward to this first game,” said Reds’ boss Stephen Hughes, “especially when I hope to be able to see our five new signings. During the past week I was delighted to add Dean Youle to our squad. He is an experienced centre-back who has joined us from Bangor. As a past club captain he will bring leadership to the squad.

“A lot of the credit for this signing must go to my assistant, Eddie Hill. He has a lot of personal contacts and with Bangor relegated, Eddie persuaded Dean to come to Dixon Park.”

Other new signings, Simon McGreevy, Adam Gray, Adam Irwin and Kyle Dillon have also been training for the past two weeks and supporters are hoping they will all be in action against the Bannsiders.

Saturday’s match takes place at the Coleraine campus of Ulster University (2pm).