Andy Kilmartin’s move to Portadown from Glenavon has been met with a positive response to the player from the majority of supporters on both sides of the Mid-Ulster derby divide.
The 34-year-old midfielder opted to turn down the offer of a contract extension to stay at Mourneview Park and has instead signed a two-year deal to join relegated Portadown.
Kilmartin proved popular within the Lurgan fanbase for his commitment levels and professional attitude - qualities that have endeared the player to a Portadown side aiming for a rapid return to senior football next season with promotion out of the Championship.
Kilmartin admits it was a tough choice to make but the security of a two-year deal at Portadown alongside increased responsibility helped him turn down more lucrative single-season financial packages with Premiership clubs.
“The response from fans with both clubs has been really encouraging and means a lot to be honest, as I was concerned about the reaction to joining Portadown from Glenavon,” said Kilmartin. “Messages over text or social media have been wishing me all the best and that is nice feeling as I will leave with some wonderful memories of my time at Glenavon.
“I maybe was not playing on a regular enough basis towards the end so felt it was the right time for a move but always respected Gary Hamilton’s decision as manager of the club.
“I wish Gary and the club all the best in the future but am also excited at this next chapter and doing my job now for Portadown.”
Kilmartin was a long-term target for Ports boss Niall Currie.
“Niall was very persistent and so enthusiastic about the club and what he wants to achieve,” said Kilmartin. “It will be a challenge to get back up but Portadown remains a massive club and I have always been happy to try and use my experience to help younger players.
“I have signed that two-year contract and will honour it no matter what happens but obviously the plan is to get up then build again in the Premiership.”