FOOTBALL: Up for the challenge!

Wesley Gregg welcomes new signings Ciaran Clarke and Richard Vauls to the Coleraine Showground''�2011 Derek Simpson
Wesley Gregg welcomes new signings Ciaran Clarke and Richard Vauls to the Coleraine Showground''�2011 Derek Simpson

NEW Coleraine signing Richard Vauls is looking forward to the challenge of the Irish League after putting pen to paper with the Bannsiders last week.

The defender returned back to the North Coast following four years on the mainland with spells at Stoke City and more recently Cowdenbeath.

But after putting pen to paper along with Ciaran Clarke last week, Vauls is relishing the challenge with is hometown club.

“There was a few clubs showing interest in me, but being a local lad Coleraine was always my number one choice,” the 20-year-old told Times Sport.

“I’ve known Oran, Trevor and Wesley for a long time and I know what they are wanting to achieve here at Coleraine.

“I’m just pleased to be here now and hopefully help the team push on this season.

“Oran has brought in a lot of good players who will be looking to impress, which will bode well for the team.”

The experience of full time football has clearly benefited Vauls and it’s one which he said he would consider in the future, but at the minute Coleraine is all he is thinking about.

“I did enjoy my spell in England and Scotland,” he said.

“Unfortunately Cowdenbeath were relegated last season, but I learnt a lot under Jimmy Nicholl.

“He is a Northern Ireland legend who played at the very highest level and he helped me a lot.

“It was a good standard of football in the First Division too.

“But I’m home now and I just want to give my best for Coleraine.

“It’s a big season and hopefully we can push on to challenge for the top six and in the cups too.

“I just can’t wait to get started now.”

Fellow new boy Clarke is also relishing the new challenge ahead.

The Ballycastle teenager made his senior bow for Limavady United under Kearney and he is looking forward to linking up with him again.

“I loved playing under Oran and Trevor at Limavady,” he said.

“They were so professional in their approach to everything at the club and I really enjoyed my football under them.

“When Oran came in to take me to Coleraine, I didn’t have to think twice about it.

“Limavady played against Coleraine a couple of times last season and although both games were quite close, there’s obviously a big step up from playing in the Championship to the Premiership.

“I think I’m ready to make that step and hopefully I’ll get a chance to show what I can do early in the season.

“I just have to keep my head down and work hard, while trying to learn from the more experienced players already at the club and then take that chance when it comes along.

“Coming into a club like Coleraine it’s always helpful to have a few familiar faces to help you settle in.

“Obviously I’ll have that with Oran and Trevor on the coaching staff and a few of my old team mates from Limavady as well.

“I’m good friends with Shane Jennings too, so I’m looking forward to linking up with him again.

“I’d say my pace and my crossing are my greatest strengths and over the last two years playing for Limavady, I feel my all-round game has improved.

“Going to Coleraine is a big step up from anywhere I’ve been before and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Kearney is delighted to have both players on board.

“Both players will prove to be valuable additions to the squad and will further add to the competition for places,” he said.

“Richard had an excellent footballing education in England with Stoke City and was playing in the Scottish First Division last season.

“He has decided the time is right for him to come home and he is a good addition to our squad, with the added bonus of being another local player.

“Ciaran is another player I know well from working with him at Limavady.

“He is a pacey wide player, a good crosser of the ball and has learned a lot in a short space of time and we feel he can continue to develop at Coleraine.”

Both players have signed two-year contracts at The Showgrounds.

David Scullion has also agreed a new deal with the Bannsiders and Kearney told Times Sport his transfer dealings are almost complete.

“That’s us at 21 players now and barring any last minute deals I think that will probably be us now for the new season.” he said.

“If someone interesting becomes available then we’ll look at it, but I’m happy with what we’ve got now.

“I’ve been able to bring in the players I wanted and we’re looking forward to starting pre-season in a couple of weeks time.”