Hamilton hopeful of signing up McCabe before league starts

Gary Hamilton hoopes to seal the signing of Shane McCabe by the beginning of the league season.

After signing Crusaders’ Gareth McKeown last week, Hamilton wants to complete his squad by adding his former Glentoran team-mate but, as reported in last week’s ‘MAIL’, the boss is seeking confirmation that McCabe will commit to soccer ahead of gaelic football.

Hamilton now wants an answer before his side’s Premiership curtain raiser at Ballymena on August 10 and is optimistic that it will be a positive response from the 31 year old midfielder.

“Shane’s still in the pipeline,” he said. “At this minute in time, things are hopefully going to work out but we’ll have to wait and see. You can never be 100% in football but hopefully we can get something worked out before the start of the season.

“If he’s not in by then, it’ll probably be the case that nothing’s going to happen. Hopefully we’ll know one way or the other by then.”

Hamilton had said that McCabe would be the only further addition to his squad but when Gareth McKeown was given a free transfer by Crusaders last week, the boss wasted no time in bringing him to Mourneview Park.

“It came out of the blue,” he said. “With Ciaran Doherty’s wages available, we had some spare money. Brendan Shannon and Marc Brown are out injured and Kris Lindsay missed some of pre-season so we wanted to make sure we had cover.

“Gareth can play anywhere along the defence or in centre-midfield. He’s versatile, he’s strong, defends well, can put in a good cross and another massive bonus for us is his long throw. It’s like a set-piece and we haven’t had that option before. It’s another string to our bow.

“Hopefully he can make as big an impact on Glenavon as he did on Crusaders. He was a big factor in getting them to where they are now.”

That transfer meant that trialist Owen Thompson has not been offered a contract at Mourneview Park.

Thompson was playing for Glentoran IIs last season but left in search of first team football.

“Gareth became available and then we didn’t think that Owen would get into the first team as quickly as he would like,” explained Hamilton.

“We were honest with him and didn’t want him to waste his time playing for our reserve team.

“That’s the last thing he needs at 19 years-old. At this stage of his career, he needs to go and play first-team football.”