Talented midfielder signed by Tommy Wright who flourished after leaving the Showgrounds with successful spells at Coleraine and Linfield.
Stephen Lowry burst onto the scene during the 2005/2006 season with his native Limavady United, then managed by Paul Kee, as the Roesiders continually managed to punch above their weight in the mid-to later 2000’s. With the club hamstrung by financial difficulties, Stephen was elevated to a more senior role in the midfield engine room during the following (2006/2007) campaign, occasionally also featuring alongside younger brother Philip who was breaking through at the Limavady Showgrounds.
Having scored against Ballymena United in the early season League Cup encounter, his form caught the eye of Sky Blues boss Tommy Wright, who returned to his former club to swoop and sign the 20-year-old in January 2007 as part of a swap deal that seen Austin Friel head the opposite direction.
Lowry’s impact in an experienced, albeit underperforming Ballymena United team was limited with Wright utilising the young midfielder on the left-flank or as an impact substitute during his first season. He also featured in a number of games for David Dorrian’s successful Reserve League winning team that season, the first time Ballymena United Reserves had clinched that honour.
Wright entrusted more responsibility from Stephen in his first full season (2007/2008) – playing 28 games and scoring three goals as the Sky Blues went 14 games unbeaten and even looked like potential title outsiders at the turn of the New Year. That title challenge was badly disrupted by the uncertainty over the future of manager Tommy Wright who was being courted with a move to England, as the Sky Blues limped over the finishing line to a sixth placed finish in the Premier Division.
Wright did eventually depart to Norwich City, and the introduction of former Crusaders supremo Roy Walker to the Showgrounds hotseat would bring Lowry’s career at the Braid to a abrupt end. Sweeping changes across the dressing room were made by Walker in the summer of 2008 and with the eve of the newly restricted IFA Premiership only a week away, Stephen was freed to move back to Limavady United, who had been demoted to the new IFA Championship One division.
Admittedly disillusioned with football, 21-year-old Lowry refocused back in familiar surroundings and picked up a first cup final medal, as he lifted the Craig Memorial Cup after defeating Magherafelt Sky Blues. It was a disappointing campaign for the Lims under the stewardship of Jimmy McGroarty, as the club finished 13th in the second tier, also lost the final of the North West Senior Cup to Institute.
Former Ballymena United midfielder Oran Kearney was to play a vital role in the rejuvenation of Stephen’s career, when he walked through the door as new boss at the Roesiders in the summer of 2009. Building a team around the dynamic midfielder and restoring confidence in his unquestioned ability – Kearney lifted his talisman into the shop window for a move back to the top-flight with Coleraine in January 2010.
Lowry joined David Platt’s enigmatic Coleraine side for the second half of a 2009/2010 season in which the Bannsiders boasted devasting attacking talent in Darren Boyce, Stephen Carson and Rory Patterson (who finished as the Irish League top scorer with 41 goals) but failed to even finish in the top six in the table, and also lost the final of the League Cup to Glentoran on penalties, which Lowry was cup-tied for.
After months of speculation, he joined Linfield as one of new manager Warren Feeney's first signings in May 2014 for an undisclosed fee, just days after his younger brother Philip left the South Belfast club to join Derry City. Stephen made his Linfield debut in the obscure surroundings of the Faroe Islands against B36 Torshavn in the Europa League in July. It proved to be a successful first season for the midfielder as despite the Blues finishing a distant runner-up to Crusaders in the 2014/2015 campaign, Lowry was voted as the Player's Player of the Year by his peers.
He signed a two year extension to his contract at Windsor Park in December 2015 but that first piece of silverware proved elusive as Linfield (now managed by David Healy) lost in the final of the Irish Cup to Glenavon in May 2016, a first Irish Cup final appearance for the Limavady man ended in disappointment. Lowry missed the County Antrim Shield final defeat to Ballymena United in that same season. The Blues were also second best in the Danske Bank Premiership - finishing runners-up to Crusaders once again in the 2015/2016 season.
Limavady United; (Jan 2007) Ballymena United; (Aug 2008) Limavady United; (Jan 2010) Coleraine; (Jun 2014) Linfield; (Jun 2018) Coleraine
(with Ballymena United)
Reserve League: (winner) 2006/2007
(with Limavady United)
Craig Memorial Cup: (winner) 2008/2009
North-West Senior Cup: (finalist) 2008/2009, 2009/2010
Last updated: 3 April 2022