Wednesday 26 June 2019

Harps sign Cretaro after Sligo exit

Raffaele Cretaro. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Raffaele Cretaro. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Newly-promoted Finn Harps have moved swiftly to snap up Raffaele Cretaro after the Sligo Rovers legend confirmed his 17-year association was over.

In total, the 37-year-old made 531 appearances for the Bit O'Red, scoring 86 goals. His most precious two was the brace he notched against St Patrick's Athletic to clinch the 2012 Premier Division title.

Hailing from Tubbercurry in the county, the local instantly won the hearts of the Sligo faithful and was rewarded for his service and loyalty earlier this year with a testimonial match at his beloved Showgrounds.

His departure comes amid a squad overhaul engineered by new manager Liam Buckley. Fans might have been surprised to see Mikey Drennan depart the club on Tuesday but there was an expectation about the exit of Raff less than 24 hours later.

Ollie Horgan, having guided Harps back to the top-flight at the first attempt, had been monitoring Cretaro's availability and the switch over the county border into their part-time set-up made sense for all parties.

"We're happy to get Raff in as he is a forward with vast experience of the Premier Division," said Horgan.

"Competition for places in every part of the field is vital and Raff will give us that up front."

Cretaro himself used his swansong to reaffirm his love for the club he served with such distinction.

He said: "My dream was to play for Sligo Rovers. I didn't know if it was going to last for one game, one start or one year. I just wanted to fulfil my dream. I wanted to dedicate myself to that for how ever long it lasted, I'm proud to say I did.

"I have amazing memories that will stay with me for my entire life."

Meanwhile, Bray Wanderers have signed a third former Waterford player, Dylan Barnett, while fellow First Division side Galway have launched their Project DNA initiative. United were left reeling by a prospective takeover deal by Saudi investors that never materialised and have gone back to basics in their bid to engage with the public.

Irish Independent

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