Brendan Glackin was the talk of local football last week. The young striker had spent the second half of last season at Carrick Rangers, having come home from a two and a half year spell in England. With Carrick having suffered defeat across two legs in the relegation playoff they found themselves rebuilding under new boss Niall Currie for the new season in the Championship. Glackin was a player the new management had wanted to keep on board and believed they had done so.

Carrick announced the renewal of Glackin’s contract, shortly before St. James Swifts announced he had signed for them. Confusion reigned for a short time, before the three parties confirmed their position. Glackin was the first of three high profile signings for St. James Swifts, quickly followed by two other former Carrick players. Full back Aaron Smyth was soon on board, followed by midfielder Mark Clarke.

The Swifts are certainly laying down a marker as to their intentions to progress in the Ballymena League and beyond, and will be a side to watch this season.

Glackin, meanwhile, began his career in the youth ranks at Linfield, and he enjoyed a productive spell at the National Stadium. “I really enjoyed my first year there, playing under Colly McIlwrath,” said the striker. “Over the next two seasons I was scoring quite a few goals, despite having a disagreement or two with the new managers, but apart from that I enjoyed my football and we got to a Northern Ireland cup final.”

Glackin then realised a dream, a move into full-time football with Oldham Athletic. He found it tough in the beginning, but thoroughly enjoyed the experience at the League One club.

“It was hard getting used to being full time, to begin with. You are constantly having to get ice baths to recover for your session the next day and some days you would find yourself walking into training not being able to feel your legs. But I loved every minute of it over there. it was an unreal experience to get the chance to play against players like Wes Brown. I was there at the same time as Ricardo Fuller and had the chance to play up top with him. We also had Paul Scholes take one of our youth team sessions which was fantastic.”

Glackin proved himself as a prolific scorer with the Latics underage sides, and it came as a shock when he found out his contract would not be renewed.

“I really enjoyed my time there and thought I was certain to get another contract with 44 goals in 2 seasons. I made my debut for the first team in League One in my last season there but a new manager came in around January and had to make his mind up about youth team players. He was also trying to keep the first team in League One which was his main priority so he didn’t really get the chance to see us play. When he did I didn’t have the best couple of games as I was struggling with a hamstring injury and I worked hard to try to impress him, but it wasn’t to be. So maybe I was a bit unfortunate like a few other lads in our team. We had won two trophies in two years, and we had a very good squad. I really think a number of the boys should have got at least a year as a pro to prove themselves up at first-team level.”

The Belfast man then spent a bit of time at Radcliffe Borough, but following an ankle injury he decided to come back home and a late call from then Carrick manager Davy McAlinden saw him make the move to Taylors Avenue.

“Davy was a big part of my move to Carrick. I knew I was coming home as I had told Radcliffe Borough after a 12-week ankle injury that I was leaving in January and going home. I had quite a few Irish Premiership clubs contact me, but I couldn’t quite make my mind up on who to sign for. Then Davy rang me at the last minute and I made my mind up on the spot. I knew Davy really well as he had coached my Milk Cup team and he knew what I was about. I knew how he liked to play as well, and it suited me. Davy is the sort of manager I could see myself enjoying my football under, and I was excited about moving to Carrick.  It was just bad timing in the end with my ankle not being ready and not really getting going until the season was almost over. I wish I could have been injury free and could have done more to help him and the lads stay up there as I really liked him as a coach. It was a good changing room to be in but, unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be.”

Brendan spent some time over the summer in the Northern Ireland u21 development camp recently, before the drama of his move into Intermediate football with the fast emerging St James Swifts. The West Belfast side enjoyed an impressive first season at Intermediate level, and are looking to push on this season.

“St. James are a local side who have been doing really well the last few years.  I have no doubt the rapid progression won’t stop here for us, as it’s a club on the up. I’m buzzing to have signed on and will try to help them move up the leagues as quick as possible. I can’t wait to get started and hopefully stay injury free, I’m looking forward to getting the chance to show people what I can do while helping the club have a great season.”