Confirmed: Karl Sheppard renews contract with Cork City while Greg Bolger joins Shamrock Rovers
Cork City forward Karl Sheppard has signed a new two-year deal with the league champions after being heavily linked to rivals Dundalk over the last few weeks.
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny refused to rule out his interest in the former Galway United, Shamrock Rovers and Reading forward last week, however, after winning the FAI Cup on Sunday, Sheppard has recommitted to Cork for the next two seasons.
Speaking to CorkCityFC.ie, Sheppard said: “I am delighted. I have had a great three years here so far, and to add another two to that is brilliant. I can’t wait for next season, as we go out to try and defend our double.”
“It has been the best season I have been involved in so far, it was a special, special year. The supporters have been unbelievable; the messages of support I have been getting shows what type of people they are.
“Last week was a difficult week, but that is in the past now and I am delighted to commit to the club for the next two years. Next season, we need to try and go out and win the league again, try and win the FAI Cup again and we have the Champions League to look forward to. We are going into everything wanting to win.”
City manager John Caulfield said that Sheppard has been a phenomenal player for the club in his three seasons at Turner's Cross and that the 26-year-old was instrumental in his side's double-clinching cup win on Sunday.
“Shep joined us three seasons ago and he has been a phenomenal player for us. He played a huge role for us last Sunday and was instrumental in the cup win. I am absolutely thrilled to have him here, we want to keep all of our players. They have won a double, we know how hard it is and we need to be challenging again next year.”
“I never doubted Shep; his professionalism is second to none. He gave the performance I expected of him on Sunday and he left everything on the pitch, which our supporters could see.”
“I feel he is in his prime, like a lot of the players we have already signed for next year, and I think he will get better and better over the next two years.”
Meanwhile midfielder Greg Bolger has joined Shamrock Rovers after making just 25 appearances across all competitions last season.
Rovers boss Stephen Bradley hailed Bolger as a great signing and a player that can set the tempo for the Hoops.
“I think he’s one of the top players in the league and has been for a number of years," Bradley told the club's website.
"He brings vital experience to us and he understands what it takes to win in this country. He dictates games, he’ll get us playing and create a tempo for us. So he’s a great signing. I know that a number of other teams wanted his signature so we’re just delighted that he sees his football here next year.
"We spoke to people that have worked with him and all reports have been really good. He works hard, he’s a team player and goes about his business in the right way.
"We wanted to see what sort of character and personality he was. It’s a big thing for us when we sign players, it has been from day one and it was no different with Greg. So it was a no-brainer for us.
"We were looking for that type of player to come into the group that’s been there and won things. He understands how to win things.
"We’ve got some really talented young players in this squad. I think Greg is at the right age of his life and his career, he’s at a stage where he’ll bring on our young players by how he behaves on and off the pitch.
"When you speak to him you get the sense that he’s hungry to go and show what a good player he is again. I think he’s shown that over the years in the league but this year has maybe been a little bit frustrating for him in terms of starts.
"He’s a player that any time we’ve watched Cork or played against them, he’s hurt us, and when you come up against players like that you need to try and get them in your ranks and thankfully we have.”
Commenting on signing for Rovers, Bolger said:
“I’m delighted to sign here. I’ve been speaking to the two Stephens in the last few weeks and it’s good to get it done and done early. I’m looking forward to next year, buying into what the lads are trying to do here and help the team progress.
"I haven’t come here to be mid-table. Rovers are a big club, I’m here to win titles and that’s what the aim is next year. Talking to Stephen Bradley and what his plans are for next year, I’m delighted to be a part of that."