Ben Doherty relishing new challenge with Larne
Ben Doherty’s desire to move into the full-time game was a key factor in his move to Larne.
The midfielder, who scored 37 goals in 86 appearances for Coleraine over the last two-and-a-half years, completed his move to Inver Park yesterday.
Negotiations were fairly straightforward with Conor McKendry moving in the opposite direction, and Doherty pleased it was all wrapped up swiftly.
“It’s a big move for myself and everyone knows there is a big project going on at Larne ” he told the club website.
“It was a deal that was easily done and one that was well handled, from both clubs, and I’m just delighted to get it over the line.
“Larne had a very successful year last season. They won the County Antrim Shield, gave the league a real good go, got to the Irish Cup final and got to Europe.
“I’ve wanted to test myself with full-time football for a while now and I feel the time is right to do that, so I can’t wait to get going now.”
Doherty has caught the eye at home and in Europe as he scored a number of crucial goals for the Bannsiders against the likes of NK Maribor, Motherwell and FK Velez.
New boss Tiernan Lynch is thrilled to have secured the services of the former Derry City man.
“Everyone in the league knows about Ben’s qualities and I am absolutely delighted we could bring him to Larne,” he said.
“I have to thank the club for making this possible and we feel it is a major signing for us as we continue the process of building the squad at Inver Park.
“Ben is just 24, but he already has significant experience in this league under his belt, which is a big factor.
“He has done it week in, week out at this level and shown his quality in European games as well. We’re delighted to have him with us.
“We also want to wish Conor McKendry well as he moves on and thank him for all of his efforts. He came back very strong from a serious injury and that is testament to his work ethic and desire.”
Doherty becomes Larne’s fourth signing of a busy summer and Chairman Gareth Clements was pleased to get the deal over the line.
“I’m absolutely delighted to get the deal for Ben across the line, after protracted yet healthy negotiations with Coleraine,” he said.
“I believe the signing sends a clear message out as to the profile of player Larne Football Club is now in the market for.
“Ben is a proven performer, not yet at the peak of his career, who I believe can only prosper and thrive in our full time set up.
“I would like to wish Conor McKendry all the very best for the future also, as he makes the switch to Ballycastle Road as part of the deal.
“Finally, I would like to thank both Oran Kearney and Colin McKendry for their honesty and professionalism throughout the process.”
Bannsiders boss Kearney is disappointed to lose Doherty, but admitted the lure of full-time football is hard to compete with.
“We can compete with every club on the pitch, but sadly full time football is not an option for us at the moment,” he said.
“So when full-time clubs approach our players it becomes a dilemma especially if the player has aspirations to be full time with the lifestyle that it presents.
“Once it became apparent that Ben was keen on the opportunity we have to do what’s best for the club.
“In my two years working with Ben, he has been a great lad, a top pro and a pleasure to manage.”