Jamie McGonigle: Coleraine reject Crusaders bid for striker

Jamie McGonigle
McGonigle was nominated for Ulster Player of the Year following a fine 2017-18 campaign.

Coleraine have rejected a bid from Irish Premiership champions Crusaders for striker Jamie McGonigle.

The 22-year-old has been the Bannsiders' top goalscorer in each of the last two seasons and was on target 20 times during the 2017-18 campaign.

Chairman Colin McKendry and manager Oran Kearney were both keen to reject the bid for McGonigle, who was informed of the offer.

Injured Crues striker Jordan Owens will miss the start of the season.

Last season, Coleraine and Crusaders were involved an enthralling title race in which the sides began the final day of the season level on points.

Crusaders claimed their third Gibson Cup in four years despite the Bannsiders losing just once all season.

Kearney's side did however secure the Irish Cup.

McGonigle's performances were recognised with a nomination for Ulster Footballer of the Year and a place in the NI Football Writers Association Team of the Year.

"The decision was quite simple," said McKendry.

"We do not need to be selling our best players, and our bright young stars, to our rivals.

"We do our business correctly at Coleraine and always inform the player once an offer has been made.

"Jamie has been and continues to be a brilliant player for us."

With Owens injured and last year's top scorer Gavin Whyte having sealed a move to Oxford United, Crusaders may be seeking to reinforce their attacking options.

The sides will meet in the Premiership on Monday 3 September.