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Written by: Johnny McNabb 14 Jan 2022

Warrenpoint Town defender Steven Ball admits a phone call from boss Barry Gray helped revive his career.

The Dubliner had dropped into the Leinster Senior League after being on the books at St. Patrick’s Athletic and Cabinteely.

However, a switch to the Danske Bank Premiership came calling as the man known as ‘Baller’ penned a deal at Milltown at the start of the 2020/21 campaign.

“I started playing with Malahide at school boy level and then spent time at St Patrick’s Athletic with their under 19’s,” he said.

“I would then have a two-and-a-half-year stint at Cabinteely but I didn’t have much luck there and dropped into the Leinster Senior League to get more games.

“To be honest, I wasn’t enjoying my football and I took a break for a while.

“Last year, I got a call from Barry Gray who asked me if I would be interested in joining Warrenpoint Town and I jumped at the chance as I was missing it.

“I was recommended to Barry by Colm Deasy and I’m very thankful he has taken a chance on me.

“I enjoy playing under him, he says it how it is and I’m hoping to play at Warrenpoint for as long as he wants me.”

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The Town hold a geographical advantage in terms of recruiting players from the League of Ireland and Ball insists he has embraced playing week in and week out in the Danske Bank Premiership.

“A lot of people mention the travelling but I when I was making the journey from North Dublin to Cabinteely in the South, it took almost 1 hour 15 minutes due to the traffic in the city,” he added.

“However, it only takes 70 minutes to get to Warrenpoint!"

“Travelling to midweek games away from home like Coleraine can be quite difficult but at the weekend it is fine as you know your weekend will be dominated by football.

“If I was playing in the League of Ireland, you would have to make trips to Cobh, Cork and Letterkenny, so it isn’t much of a difference.

“I have found the Irish League to be physical but I’ve enjoyed it. A lot of teams play good football and the product is certainly improving across all areas.

“I know more and more players are making the move to clubs north of the border but I think that’s testament to both leagues for having great squads.”

© Pacemaker Press

Gray’s troops are currently at the bottom of the Premiership standings but Ball stresses that confidence remains high in the camp ahead of Saturday’s visit of Crusaders.

“We will certainly be fighting to the end as we want to retain our Premiership status,” the left-back, who has made 26 appearances in all competitions this season, revealed.

“I thought we were unfortunate in our defeat to Dungannon Swifts on Tuesday night but we will keep pushing on.

“We know we have the ability to pick up results and the confidence in the camp is still high, although we know it will take a lot of work to climb the table.

“We have made quite a number of new signings, they have settled in well and will certainly make a difference.

“We have to take confidence from our recent result against Linfield (a 1-1 draw) when we play the bigger teams but we know Crusaders are in a decent run of form.

“It is down to us to make sure we turn Milltown into a fortress and start getting results.”