Former Armagh and Crossmaglen GAA star Jamie Clarke will once again lace up his shooting boots as he swaps Gaelic for soccer, after signing a contract with newly-promoted Danske Bank Premiership side Newry City AFC.
He becomes the fourth new signing that manager Darren Mullen has brought to The Showgrounds this summer.
City are coming off the back of a successful season in which they won the NIFL Championship, automatically achieving promotion to the top-flight of Northern Irish football for the first time since the 2018/19 campaign, in which their tenure was short lived, lasting only one season.
Darren Mullen has previously said that the club’s target for this season is to remain in the Premiership and re-establish themselves as a first-division club, and he will be hoping that his new signings, including Armagh man Jamie Clarke, can help them achieve that goal.
Despite his well documented past on a Gaelic football pitch, Clarke is no stranger to soccer having grew up playing the sport before turning his attention to GAA, where he went on to establish himself as one of the best GAA players of his era.
In 2016, Clarke made the journey across the Atlantic to the Big Apple, where he signed for Cosmopolitan Soccer League Division One side, New York Shamrocks.
After a short stint in the States, Clarke returned to Armagh and to inter-county football, however, after not being able to commit himself to Crossmaglen, he could no longer be considered in Kieran McGeeney’s long-term plans.
Now, he has committed his future to soccer club, Newry City, and he is keen to put in the work to help his new team at The Showgrounds.
“I’m delighted to sign for Newry, everyone has been very welcoming in helping me settle in. 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. I’ll put my head down and put in the work to help the team in the Premiership”, he told the club’s official website.
Clarke has taken the number 11 at City and manager Darren Mullen believes that he can add to the attacking threat of the team, but does admit that it may take time for the former Crossmaglen man to adapt to demands of the NIFL Premiership.
Having excelled at Gaelic football Newry manager @ncr72 has offered ex Armagh player Jamie Clarke the opportunity to prove his worth on the soccer field, a chance the Crossmaglen native is keen to exploit. 💭⬇️https://t.co/BNgzL4B3Rj
— Newry City AFC 🏆 (@NewryCityAFC) August 12, 2022
“Jamie is obviously well known for his exploits on the Gaelic pitch but he has shown in the short time that he has been with us that he can add something to our attacking line up. He’s a smart, skilful player and he 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”, said Mullen.
Newry City lost their opening game of the Premiership, 2-1 away to Carrick Rangers. Clarke was not named in the squad.