Striker B.J. Banda has a signed a new contract with Finn Harps for the 2018 League of Ireland First Division.
It will be the 19-year-old’s fourth season as a member of the senior squad and manager Ollie Horgan is hoping that the striker can establish himself as a regular in the first team in the new campaign which starts with an away game to Drogheda Utd on the 23rd of February.
“B.J. will have a big opportunity to nail down a regular place in the team next season and it’s up to him now to make that happen. He’s been around the senior squad since the second half of the 2015 season so he knows what is required in terms of the commitment to play at his level. B.J. has come up through our underage system and played at both U17 and U19 so that has been the right pathway to learn the game. He has the knack to get goals but we will need him to do that on a regular basis in the First Division,” Horgan said.
B.J. Banda played his underage football with Letterkenny Rovers before joining the Finn Harps underage setup in 2014. He played the last three games of the regular 2015 season and made his debut against Cobh Ramblers at St. Colman’s Park on the 19th of September. Just a month later Banda scored his first senior goals for Harps getting two in the final game of the regular season against Wexford Youths.
Undoubtedly the biggest night of his senior career to date was when he replaced Kevin McHugh at the start of extra-time and went won to head in that famous late winner at the town end to give Finn Harps a 2-1 aggregate victory over Limerick in the final of the promotion play-offs in Ballybofey.
The video captured by Finn Harps fan Daithi Ramsey on that memorable night shows just what the goal meant to the supporters.
Banda remained a regular with the Harps' U19s during the 2016 season only coming into the senior squad towards the end of the season when he made another seven league appearances as Harps retained their place in the Premier Division with a 10th place finish. Last season Banda had very limited game time in the Premier Division but scored twice including one of the goals in that first ever away win over Derry City at Maginn Park in April.
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