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Greene glad to be a gypsy

THE plan was to be playing in front of 15,000 fans at Swansea City's home stadium tomorrow in the colours of Peterborough United.

Instead, Dubliner Aaron Greene will be lining out at the Showgrounds, home ground of Coleraine FC, in front of a few hundred hardy souls, making his competitive debut for League of Ireland champions Bohemians in their Setanta Sports Cup clash (3pm).

Greene's career so far has been a series of whirlwinds -- a year ago he was playing in the lower reaches of the junior soccer scene in Dublin -- but his world was truly turned upside down last month when his move from Galway United to Championship side Peterborough collapsed after the Posh balked at the demands of Greene's former club, St Francis.

But Tallaght man Greene, 19, says he's now happy to have swapped a Championship relegation battle for a Champions League campaign with Bohs after he became Pat Fenlon's eighth and final close-season signing, and he's desperate to make an instant impact, once he can break into the team at Dalymount Park.

"I had signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Peterborough but it didn't work out," Greene told the Herald.


"Hopefully it's a blessing in disguise. I am in a shop window with Bohs now and this is a great chance for me to play in Europe.

"I don't think I would ever have played Champions League football for Peterborough United but I have that chance now with Bohs.

"I was devastated when the move collapsed. I was looking at the fixtures, like Newcastle and Ipswich at home, and planning to get my family over for games like that, so it's disappointing for me that it didn't happen.

"I was over there for two months, training with them and travelling with the team, I had even signed a contract and was waiting for the deal to go through.

"I went to Tenerife with the squad for a training camp, I travelled with them when they played Sheffield United away, I was there in the stand at Bramall Lane, thinking that this was the place to be, I really felt at home there.

"When we came back from Tenerife, Peterborough's first league game in the new year was at home to Derby, and the manager told me I would have started in that game if the compensation had been sorted and if the deal had gone through.

"The move didn't happen and I have to accept that, but I feel it's a blessing in disguise, especially if Peterborough do go down, which looks like happening, as I know I have the chance to play in the Champions League with Bohs.

"This is all new to me, playing in big games in front of big crowds. I only had a taste of it with Galway last year and now, if things go well, I could be playing in the Champions League in the summer," added Greene, who was an instant hit with Galway last season, scoring five goals in 14 games in the second half of the season.

"It's funny how things turn around. This week I was a full-time player in the Bohs squad to play Bluebell United in the Leinster Senior Cup, this time last year I was with St Francis, four leagues below Bluebell in the Leinster Senior League. Sometimes I have to pinch myself in training to see if it's all real."

Some young players attract interest and youth caps before they move into the big boys world of League of Ireland football but Greene, who joined Liberties-based club St Francis when he was 12, stayed under the radar until a year ago.

"I was on an FAI/FAS course in Irishtown, we were training fulltime and doing study as well," he says.

"The Galway manager, Ian Foster, had seen me and wanted to sign me at the start of the League of Ireland season but I had already re-signed for St Francis and I wanted to be loyal to them. I didn't want to seem like some big head just walking out on my team-mates to go and play League of Ireland.

"So I decided to see out the season with St Francis and go to Galway United then, and the move to Galway went well for me. I owe Ian Foster a lot, not many people would take a chance on a Leinster Senior League player.

"I'm happy to be where I am now. I was under the radar for a long time, I was nowhere near the League of Ireland or getting underage caps for Ireland. I have kept my head down and worked hard to get where I am.


"I haven't just moved to Bohs so I can get another move to England. I want to do well here, break into the Bohs team and win things. I know it will be hard to get a game at Bohs, people like Jason Byrne, Mark Quigley, Paddy Madden and Raff Cretaro are ahead of me so I have to get my head down and work hard to show that I could be in the team," he added.

"The aim is to go on and win the league again in the coming season. I know Shamrock Rovers will be strong -- I actually nearly signed for them as I had a few talks with Michael O'Neill -- and I think Sligo will be a threat too, but we're aiming to keep that league trophy here at Dalymount."