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Mannus leaves Rovers with happy memories

ALAN MANNUS starts a new life with St Johnstone today, just 48 hours after helping Shamrock Rovers into the third round of the Champions League qualifiers.

Mannus accepts the timing of the move is far from ideal for Rovers -- either Ryan Thompson or new signing Richard Brush will face a baptism of fire in the third round of the qualifiers against Copenhagen next week.

However, the goalkeeper has been waiting 15 years for an opportunity across the water, so there really wasn't any decision to make.

The experienced Peter Enckelman will start the campaign as St Johnstone No 1, but Mannus believes he will get his chance.

The former Linfield goalkeeper, who was given a rousing send-off by his team-mates in Tallinn, leaves Rovers with a bagful of happy memories.

"Some people might have looked at it as a difficult move when I joined Rovers from Linfield, but the fans have been brilliant to me and I could not have asked for any more from them," said the 29-year-old. "I have made a lot of friends at the club as well. It's a good club and everybody gets on well with each other. I will miss them all. I was living down in Dublin with four of the other lads... it's been fun, it's definitely been fun."

Mannus believes that Rovers have a chance of upsetting Copenhagen if they play to the best of their capabilities.

Copenhagen, who have developed into the strongest team in Scandinavia, started their domestic campaign with a 2-0 win over Sonderjyske last Sunday. Michael O'Neill will watch them play Odense this weekend.

Rovers will be well rested for the first leg of their Copenhagen challenge, having securing the postponement of their League of Ireland clash with Bray Wanderers.

And, with the Dublin Super Cup meaning that there are no domestic games the following weekend, O'Neill certainly won't be able to have any complaints about their preparation.

Irish Independent