Kevin Braniff leaves Shamrock Park to resurrect career in Australia

Kevin Braniff
Kevin Braniff

Kevin Braniff is relishing the prospect of trying to resurrect his career on the other side of the world.

Braniff finalised a release deal with Portadown on Monday and will travel to Australia on February 5.

The 30-year-old is preparing for a new challenge Down Under following a frustrating two months at Shamrock Park.

Back in November Braniff was placed on the transfer list and fined by the Ports following a fall-out with manager Ronnie McFall.

The former captain claimed he had been singled out for the club’s poor run of form at that time, while McFall accused the player of being “disruptive”.

The breakdown in relations alerted a number of Irish League clubs to the possibility of a January move for the talisman.

Linfield were close to completing a deal, only for Braniff to opt for a move to Australia.

And now the former Northern Ireland international is relishing the chance to get back doing what he does best.

“I am delighted to have agreed a release with Portadown. I can’t wait to get over to Australia and see what happens,” Braniff said.

“It is an exciting challenge, and one I am really looking forward to.

“I have a one-year visa so I am going to give it my best shot.”

Braniff is set to link up with former Millwall teammate Kevin Muscat when he arrives in Australia.

Muscat - current manager of A-League’s Melbourne Victory side - has arranged a number of trials with teams based in the second tier.

“Kevin has a few things lined up, so we will see how it goes. He had wanted me to go over one time before but I stayed in Northern Ireland,” Braniff added.

“I am able to go over there as a free agent now, so that obviously helps matters. Originally I was going to have to sort something during the window which would have made things difficult.

“It is the chance of a new career in a new part of the world, but at the same time nothing is 100 per cent. I have the visa for a year and we will see what happens.

“If I get the chance to play football, then hopefully I can stay a bit longer. If not then at least I can say I gave it a shot.”

Part of Braniff’s release from Portadown is that the club wisll have first refusal on the player if he returns to the Irish League.

“I enjoyed my time at Portadown - and I have no regrets whatsoever,” Braniff - who spent seven years at Shamrock Park - added.

“Obviously the last couple of months were disappointing and frustrating, but I loved playing for the club.

“I would have no problems returning to Portadown one day, if the situation was right. If there was a new manager, and the club were still interested, then I would have no hesitation.

“But that’s all in the future. All I am concentrating on now is getting fit and giving Australia my best shot.”