Saturday 24 August 2019

Burke's Rovers return after underwhelming stint at Preston

Graham Burke has signed a one year loan which will keep him at Shamrock Rovers until July 2020. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Graham Burke has signed a one year loan which will keep him at Shamrock Rovers until July 2020. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile Sportsdesk

Graham Burke has rejoined Shamrock Rovers on loan from Preston - just over a year after the Championship club paid €300,000 for his services.

The Dubliner made the move to the club last summer after winning senior caps for Ireland in friendly matches with France and the USA.

Burke has signed a one-year loan which will keep him in Tallaght until July 2020. He is under contract until 2021, but the terms of this deal would suggest he has no future with the English side.

He was a part of Alex Neil's plans at the beginning of last season, but he quickly drifted out of favour and finished the campaign on loan with League One side Gillingham.

Burke made just 12 league appearances for Preston, with half of those coming off the bench. The striker made 12 starts for Gillingham during his short stint there.

The 25-year-old was anxious to come home when Rovers made an approach to Preston and the clubs have been in talks across the last week.

Though in Nicosia with his Rovers team-mates, Burke was ineligible to play against Apollon Limassol in their Europa League, second qualifying round, second leg.

"I'm delighted to get him in," said Rovers' manager Stephen Bradley. "It's been ongoing for a while. I always spoke to him since he left. When the opportunity of his availability came up, I mentioned it to him and he was delighted.

"He couldn't wait to get it done. He was pushing hard at his end to get it done.

"I'm just delighted to get him in."

Bradley said he was surprised Burke didn't make a bigger impact at Preston.

"Of course," said Bradley. "Someone of Graham's ability and talent. He's a top player and I think everyone has seen that throughout his career.

"I think when you go England you need a lot of things to fall into place.

"There are so many things that need to happen for a player to show their ability. That just wasn't the case for Graham."

Burke scored 23 goals in 49 appearances during his first spell with Stephen Bradley's team.

Meanwhile, Cork City have completed a move for Derry City striker Eoghan Stokes. The ex-Leeds United player joined the Candystripes over the winter but that switch failed to work out.

Elsewhere, Cork City have terminated Gary Boylan's contract.

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