IRISH LEAGUE: Joe McKinney keen to see off his family foe

Ballymena's Joe McKinney in action on his club debut last weekend. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Ballymena's Joe McKinney in action on his club debut last weekend. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

For Ballymena United’s new signing Joe McKinney, this Saturday’s game has an added significance.

The Sky Blues travel to Windsor Park to take on title-chasing Linfield, but for McKinney, there’s more at stake than three points.

Former Ards player Joe McKinney who has signed for Ballymena

Former Ards player Joe McKinney who has signed for Ballymena

That’s because he’s coming up against his cousin and Linfield striker Andrew Waterworth.

“Andrew’s got three on me now this season because when I was at Ards we lost to Linfield three times,” he said. “I need to get at least one on him for a few bragging rights.”

McKinney’s new boss David Jeffrey is, of course, going back to his old stomping ground and he goes in good mood - much of it caused by his new recruit.

The Ballymena Times understands that McKinney turned down north Belfast clubs Crusaders and Cliftonville in favour of a move to the Showgrounds, much to Jeffrey’s delight.

“I know other clubs were very interested in Joe but the fact that he chose ourselves is most pleasing,” he said. “(Joe) is an absolute gentleman.

“I thought his debut was excellent. His work for the team was first class. He showed great strength and skill. He’s a young man who was on our radar right from the beginning of the season.
“On the first day of the season, when Ards beat us 4-3, he ripped us apart.”

Jeffrey admits it will be a ‘tough’ for his side to claim their first league win at Windsor Park since 2004, especially since the Sky Blues will be without suspended trio Cathair Friel, Leroy Millar and Fra McCaffrey.