Larne have announced the signing of St Patrick’s Athletic forward Ronan Hale.

The 21-year-old is returning to the Danske Bank Premiership after previously playing in the top flight with Crusaders.

Hale-who spent two years at Birmingham City which included a loan spell with Derry City-had been with St Pat’s since last summer.

The former Republic of Ireland Under 21 international says he is excited by the potential of Larne,who finished sixth last season.

“Larne are a passing team and I think that suits me,”Hale told Larne’s website.

“When you look at the facilities which are here and which are being built it’s a team on the up.

“I spoke to Tomas Cosgrove and Marty Donnelly and they’ve told me this is the place to be, with the full-time environment in place.

“There were a couple of clubs interested, but I need to be training every day and hopefully that will make me a better player.

“During lockdown was hard without training everyday and I’m just glad to get everything sorted and know where my future lies.”

Hale joined Crusaders in January 2019 alongside his brother Rory and went on to make seven league starts for Stephen Baxter’s side that season.

He moved to League of Ireland outfit St Pat’s in August last year.

Larne boss Tiernan Lynch said: “Ronan is a young lad who, in our opinion, will be a very, very bright prospect in the Irish League this year.

“He a lad who is only 21, but has already had a bright career. He’s scored goals in England, he’s scored goals in the League of Ireland and the Irish League to date.

“He’s also played internationally and scored goals, so we’re very excited to get him in and have him as a part of what we’re doing.”