"He can add something to our attacking line up" - Jamie Clarke signs for Northern Irish soccer club
The 2022/2023 Northern Irish Premiership kicked off on Friday night but the biggest news, truth be told, came away from off the field.
Not many can claim to have seen this one coming. It was in the late hours of Friday night, the day before they begin their season, when Newry City announced that former Armagh and Crossmaglen Rangers Gaelic footballer Jamie Clarke had signed on to play for them.
Clarke has played soccer before, and it was during a stateside trip in 2016 when he signed for NY Shamrocks, who played in Division 1 of the Cosmopolitan Soccer League.
That spell was relatively short-lived, with Clarke returning to play Gaelic football the following year but five years on, the 33-year-old has opted to give it another go.
"I'm delighted to sign for Newry, everyone has been very welcoming in helping me settle in," he told the club's website.
"It is an extremely close knit club and that comes through on the pitch.
"Darren (Mullen) has been excellent with me and I’ve been very impressed with him and the coaching staff’s plans for the season ahead.
"There’s a brilliant mix youth and experience, including my own hometown friend James Teelan, who is an exceptional talent. I’ll put my head down now and put in the work to help the team in Premiership," he continued.
Clarke has been back playing for Crossmaglen Rangers this year but the Newry City manager Darren Mullen says that, having been on trial with the club, Clarke has impressed as an attacking player. Newry City won the second division last year, the NIFL Championship, and will be hoping to settle in well this season at the top table.
⚫️🟠Rangers Sponsor A Ball; Armagh Senior League
🏐Seamus Murtagh will sponsor the ball V Clann Eireann.
Thanks for your sponsorship and support. 👏
🏐Seamus presents the ball to Jamie Clarke#rangerssponsoraball #thanks #clubfundraiser pic.twitter.com/z86ALVSm7W
— Crossmaglen Rangers (@crossrangers) June 9, 2022
“Jamie is obviously well known for his exploits on the Gaelic pitch but he has shown in the short time he has been with us that he can add something to our attacking line up," the Newry manager said.
"He’s a smart skilful player and is keen to show what he can do at this level of football. It will obviously take him a while to bed in but I’m looking forward to seeing him playing in a Newry shirt.”
In fairness, there's always been a bit of a soccer player in him...
— The GAA (@officialgaa) July 16, 2017