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17 May 2021 : Talented newcomers will only enhance quality squad, says Linnets manager

BOSS Calum McIntyre has expressed his delight as Runcorn Linnets offer the warmest of welcomes and a fuller introduction to three new first-team signings.

Midfielders Joe Lynch and Rhain Hellawell join wide player Michael (MJ) Monaghan in bolstering the Runcorn ranks as we start to gear up for the long-awaited return of competitive football in August.

The manager could not be more pleased with the captures and the qualities they will add to an already talented squad.

Joe Lynch is a tenacious 21-year-old midfielder, who most recently played for Lower Breck in the North West Counties League.

He joined the Liverpool club in September of last year after a spell with Morecambe.

Joe had signed for the Shrimps in July 2019, making his first-team debut within two months in the EFL Trophy.

He had previously been on contract at Crewe Alexandra, graduating from their Academy in summer 2018 and playing against Runcorn Linnets in the Cheshire Senior Cup.

For the manager, the signng was most certainly better late than never.

Calum said: "Joe is a really talented footballer and someone we were about to bring in when the 2020-21 season was curtailed.

"We were set to sign him on the day that the Northern Premier League suspended all fixtures shortly after Christmas and I'm pleased he has committed to us for the season ahead

"He can play in a number of positions and brings an enormous amount to the team. He has a tremendous attitude and I know will improve our group and fit well within our dressing room."

A right winger with pace and an eye for goal, 21-year-old Rhain Hellawell renews his association with Linnets manager Calum for whom he played successfully in the Chester FC Academy.

Rhain diverted to the Deva after starting out at his local club Stockport Town, making the first team in the NWCL Premier Division at 16 years old, and progressed through the Chester youth ranks into senior contention.

He represented Chester at Under 17 and U18 levels before graduating to the first-team squad in early 2018.

Rhain made his debut - the first of three senior outings - against Altrincham in the Cheshire Senior Cup and a maiden National League appearance followed in April 2018 versus Maidstone United.

2018-19 loan spells followed at Barnoldswick Town and Widnes but the player succumbed to a knee injury, which required surgery, in January 2019.

Rhain moved the following summer to FC United of Manchester and then onto Radcliffe FC, from where he landed at City of Liverpool on loan in September 2020.

The short-term deal with the Purps was ended by the Covid lockdown at the turn of the year.

Calum McIintyre commented: "Rhain is someone I have worked with before and I'm really pleased to be able to bring him to Runcorn Linnets.

"For someone of his age, he has played a lot of games around this level and he ticks a lot of boxes for us. He is a really hard-working wide player with a terrific engine and will add that to our group."

Highly-rated wide man Michael Monaghan (better known as MJ) arrives from Prescot Cables, where he proved himself a big fans favourite over two spells.

In between these stints the now 27-year-old spent time in Australia, the move Down Under in January 2019 seeing him play for title-winning Corio Soccer Club.

On returning to the UK, MJ signed for Witton Albion for the 2019-20 season. But a winter move promptly took him back to Prescot, who in awarding the player a rare contract in summer 2020 described him as a "huge asset".

MJ has had three spells at Marine, after starting in their youth set-up.

He has also served Northwich Victoria, Burscough (22 goals helping them into the NPL First Division North play offs), AFC Telford United and Bradford Park Avenue.

Calum said: "MJ is a player that is well established at this level and someone we looked to bring in upon hearing he had left Prescot Cables.

"We feel he is the type of player that we need to improve, someone quite dynamic that makes things happen at the top end of the pitch.

"He had plenty of offers from elsewhere so he is someone we are really pleased to have got committed for the season ahead."

Calum has also made good progress with securing the services of influential players from last season.

Club captain Peter Wylie, fellow centre back Alex Downes, full backs Ally Brown and James Short plus midfield playmaker Iwan Murray have already pledged continuing allegiance to Linnets.

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