Portadown are delighted to announce the signing of Cathair Friel from Ballymena United on the conclusion of his contract.

Friel, 30, began his career with the Coleraine in 2011 but made his mark at Limavady United where his 46 goals helped the Roesiders win the Championship Two title in 2015/16.

His performances and goals in a Limavady United shirt alerted Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey with Friel joining the Sky Blues in 2016/17 and going on to lift the League Cup as well as scoring in an Irish Cup final defeat to Glentoran during his time at the Ballymena Showgrounds. In total, Friel made 162 appearances and scored 70 times for the Braidmen in his first spell.

The Dungiven based strikers’ next port of call would be Carrick Rangers who he joined in January 2021, going on to score four times in 23 appearances under current Ports boss Niall Currie.

The striker would re-join Coleraine in June 2021 and have subsequent loan spells with Dungannon Swifts (Jan 22-April 22) and Institute (August 22-Jan 23) on his return to the Showgrounds.

Another loan spell would beckon for Friel as he would make the move to Portadown from Coleraine in January 2023 and go on to establish himself as a fan favourite with the supporters at Shamrock Park due to his industry and work rate as the Ports battled against the drop, scoring 4 goals in 18 appearances in a red shirt.

Cathair would return for a second spell at Ballymena United on transfer deadline day summer 2023 however would only make 7 first team appearances and score 1 goal before being loaned to Limavady United for the second half of the 23/24 season where he would score 1 goal in 8 appearances as he helped his former club to the NIFL Premier Intermediate League Title and the North West Cup.

On Friel’s return to the club on a permanent basis Ports manager Niall Currie commented

This was a real left field one with Cathair. I heard on the quiet that he was in fantastic condition and that he would be always open about Portadown because he loved his previous spell here, he was excellent for us and made a huge impact and having had a very long and good chat with him he’s excited about coming back to us.

He’s fully motivated to prove a few doubters wrong and I love that, a fully motivated Cathair is a massive handful for any defence so we’re delighted to have him back at the club.

Cathair Friel added

When the opportunity came around to go back to Portadown I jumped at it.

I really enjoyed my football when I was there last time and really enjoyed my football working under Niall, Cliffy and the other coaches. The club and fans as a whole made me and my family so welcome on my loan stint and I can’t wait to get back at it.