Saturday 10 December 2016

Rory O'Carroll swaps the Dubs and Croke Park for Chicago move

Michael Verney

Published 14/07/2016 | 02:30

Rory O’Carroll walked away from Jim Gavin’s Dublin squad in January: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Rory O’Carroll walked away from Jim Gavin’s Dublin squad in January: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Rory O'Carroll won't be donning a Dublin jersey in Croke Park this summer but he will be playing football after a sanctioned transfer to Chicago club John McBrides.

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O'Carroll, 26, walked away from Jim Gavin's Dublin squad in January with plans to travel before searching for employment in New Zealand but the two-time All-Star defender will now play in this year's North American Championships.

The much-lauded No 3 follows the path of club-mate Paul Mannion, who played for McBrides last year, and their manager Gerard Doherty, a Mayo native, is delighted to have him in their ranks.

"He's a massive loss to the Dubs. He pushed for Footballer of the Year last year and is the best full-back in Ireland for a number of years despite coming up against all the big names. We'll keep him busy for the summer," Doherty said.

"He's a great name to get for sure. He'll be a big player for us and I'd say we can learn a few things from him. Dublin are obviously at the top of the game so it's good to learn from the best.

"I was back home and in Croke Park when Mayo were defeated by Dublin last year and in 2013. I was watching him break our hearts so it'll be nice to have him on our side for once."

After winning the North American Championships for the first time in 28 years, Doherty is hoping the addition of the three-time All-Ireland winner can aid a back-to-back bid and he believes that travelling Stateside hugely benefits players.

"The club is 60 years old and it'd be great to do back-to-back, that's the target anyway but there's a lot of good clubs out here and they all have their big players coming out too," he said.

"He's only coming on a holiday so there's lots of sight-seeing for him to do but it's a great experience for anyone to get away for the summer. America is good for players and players always learn from it.

"They make great friends, you'll meet guys from different parts of the country and all the Americans too. For anyone that moves away, the GAA helps an awful lot. It makes settling in a lot easier, it's like having a part of Ireland in America."

Irish Independent

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