GREENOCK Juniors’ preparations for the new season have suffered a blow with the news that club captain Ryan Begley has quit.

The big centre-half, who had been at Ravenscraig for five years, has signed for Irvine Meadow, a move which keeps him in the Super League First Division after Greenock were relegated from that league at the end of last season.

The 31-year old admits that the prospect of dropping down a division wasn’t particularly appealing, but insists it wasn’t the only factor in his departure from Greenock.

He said: “Relegation was a real sickener, but I hadn’t decided what my plans were for the new season and was going to just wait a while and see if any offers came in before I re-signed for Greenock.

“Then within a week of our last match of the season, the cup final defeat against Pollok, I got a call asking if I would like to speak to the co-manager of Irvine Meadow. 

“We had a good chat and it seems they are trying to build more of an Ayrshire-based squad for next season, which suits me fine as I live in Largs.

“I liked what I saw and heard at Meadow, and decided that I needed a fresh challenge, as although I am 31 I feel I can still learn new things in the game. 

“It was difficult to leave Greenock, though, and I wish Stevie Mooney and the club all the best in the new season.”

Meanwhile, in what for many will be a surprise move, Greenock striker Kenny Munro is also on the move to Ayrshire. 

Munro, who only a few weeks ago was presented with the club’s top goalscorer trophy at the Player of the Year Awards, has signed for Ardrossan Winton Rovers, who like Greenock were relegated last season and will play the new campaign in the Ayrshire District League.

And he will be joined at Ardrossan by Port Glasgow skipper Tam Jamieson, who has moved to the Rovers along with his brother Alan, another Port player from last season.

Alan told the Tele: “It kind of came about by chance, after I met Ardrossan’s manager Sandy McLean through my job. 

“Tam and I had a look at their set-up and it is first class, so we both fancied a change.

“There’s obviously more travelling time compared to the Port, but between Tam, myself, Kenny Munro and Brendan Grana, who has also signed for them, it means we can all go in the one car, so it will hopefully turn out to be a good move for all of us.”

In another close season departure, Port striker Dylan McLaughlin is also on the move, having signed for Maryhill.

There will no doubt be more comings and goings at both Greenock and Port Glasgow ahead of the official start to the season on August 6, as both sets of managers finalise their squads for the new campaign.