Ballinamallard have added to their squad with the signing of Niall Brennan from Boyle Celtic.

The attacker played in the top division of the Sligo Leitrim District league last season and helped Boyle to the runners up position. His displays caught the eye of Ballinamallard manager Gavin Dykes, who nipped in ahead of League of Ireland clubs to bring Niall to Ferney Park.

“He was playing with Boyle and has played with Salthill in the League of Ireland a couple of years ago where he did very well,” said Gavin.

“He is a junior International and is very highly regarded. Galway United were looking to get him but we got him. He’s a different type of player to what we have. He is good on the ball and has an eye for goal. It’s going to take him a bit of time to adjust but I think he will be a good addition.

“ He can pay centre forward or wide right or as a number ten. He has come in and there is a lot of work for him to do but he’s a nice kid and hopefully it will work out for him.”

Niall made a good start to his Ballinamallard career, scoring a goal in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Fivemiletown United. The Mallard team was a mixture of youth players, trialists and more established names, and it was two of last season’s first team players that combined for the opener. Ross Taheny crossed from the left and when the keeper failed to get any distance on his clearance, long serving Jason McCartney was on hand to fire his shot through a crowd of defenders.

Fivemiletown were not daunted by facing Premier league opponents and they responded well, levelling the scores before half time when ex Mallard Kane Connor pounced on a loose ball when a long range shot came back off the post.

Brennan put Ballinamallard back in front in the second half when his cross come shot drifted over the keeper, but in the dying minutes the mid-Ulster league side tied the game when Glen Clarke fired in from close range.

The Fivemiletown performance bodes well for their upcoming league campaign, and Ballinamallard manager Dykes was happy with the workout for his team.

“It was all about fitness, that’s all,” he said. “We are only back two nights and last year we didn’t have games, so we decided this year we would have a lot of games. Fair play to Fivemiletown, I thought they did very well. We will try to push on another step next week.”

The team that takes the field when the league resumes will have a different look to the team that secured tenth spot last season.

Ryan Mayse and Shane McCabe have already departed and Ryan Morris and Callum Frampong have left for university. It also looks increasingly unlikely that Johnny Lafferty will be a part next season’s squad.

“Johnny is going playing Gaelic,” revealed Gavin. “We sat down and talked to him and we told him there is an open door here for him if he wants to come back, but until he gets the Gaelic thing out of system he can’t do everything. Hopefully he will come back to us but it is up to Johnny. Unfortunately we have lost Ryan Morris and Callum Frempong as well. The lads are going to Liverpool for their education. The two of them did brilliant for me last year but we can’t stand in their way. Hopefully things will go well for them and they might come back to us.”

The departures have increased the need to bolster the squad in the coming weeks, and Gavin admits he will be looking for several more signings that can step straight into the starting eleven as well as increasing the strength in depth.

“Hopefully we can add to the squad. We know we need a couple of players in certain areas and we hope we can do that. We have a lot of the squad put together and it’s just in key areas we need one or two more. We need one or two that I know can come straight into the team, or at least be in around the team, but I also want to try to look at other lads that might come through. I thought some of the younger lads did very well against Fivemiletown and at times I thought we played better football with the younger lads on than we did with the older lads. That is the strength of this club, and we have to keep pushing and pushing. We have a few trialists in and there will be another couple coming in next week as well. Its early days but they have all done alright so far and we will judge them after a couple of weeks, not just after one game. It’s going to be three weeks’ time when we sit down and make a decision on who we take and who we don’t.”