FOOTBALL

O'Connor signs for Shamrock Rovers

Teen striker becomes third player to leave Oriel for Tallaght

Gavin McLaughlin

Reporter:

Gavin McLaughlin

O'Connor signs for Shamrock Rovers

Michael O’Connor has signed for Shamrock Rovers

Michael O’Connor has become the third member of Dundalk’s 2016 title winning squad to leave for Shamrock Rovers.

The local striker, who made 10 appearances in all competitions last season - scoring four times - joined Dundalk from Woodview Celtic in 2014 and is a current Irish U19 international.

English League One side Bradford City held discussions with Dundalk about acquiring the 18-year-old’s signature but the move fell through after a compensation package could not be worked out between the clubs.

That left the door open for Rovers manager Stephen Bradley to make his move and the deal was confirmed on Saturday with O’Connor following Ronan Finn and Darren Meenan in departing Oriel Park for Tallaght.

The trio is set for an early return to their old employers with Rovers scheduled to meet Dundalk on the opening night of the 2017 season at Oriel Park on February 24.

"We are delighted to have signed Michael,” said Bradley. “He is a very good young player and is eager to show everyone how good he really is.

“He turned down some big offers to come to Shamrock Rovers. He buys into what we are building and wants to be a part of it. He spoke with Ronan and Darren and knows that he will become a better footballer with us.

“He is a great talent and I know will do a job for us. He will mix really well with the squad and we will go straight into it with the squad at training on Monday."

O’Connor, who wasn’t offered a new deal at Oriel Park for the 2017 season, said he was looking forward to a new challenge at Tallaght Stadium.

"I am delighted to sign for Shamrock Rovers. I enjoyed my time at Dundalk but I felt that I needed a change and Stephen Bradley has offered me the chance to prove myself and show what I can do.

“I will grab that chance with both hands and I look forward to getting stuck in straight away."

O’Connor follows in the footsteps of Tommy McConville and Ross Moran, two previous Dundalk men who also made the move to Rovers.