Saturday 24 February 2018

Quigley aims to make most of home comforts

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

MARK QUIGLEY knows the routine at this stage – he'll pitch up at pre-season training in January and don a new set of gear, introduce himself to anyone he doesn't know and get on with it.

There won't be many unfamiliar faces. The League of Ireland is a small place and the north inner city Dubliner has played with most players at this stage as he enters his fifth season in a row at a different club.

The great league merry-go-round is in full swing as the clubs go through the most turbulent time of the year. In effect, the players are thrown in the air and we'll see where they land next February.

Rovers have been the quickest movers of the lot as they look to eradicate the memories of a disastrous season. Sean O'Connor and Quigley were unveiled yesterday, joining other new boys Jason McGuinness and James Chambers, while Gary McCabe re-committed his future to the club.

Trevor Croly's move from assistant manager at St Patrick's Athletic to Rovers top dog has seen the balance of power shift in the Tallaght club's direction. Saints boss Liam Buckley described the move as being "uncomfortable" when it was mooted in the build-up to the FAI Cup final earlier this month, but now that it has happened it is downright disastrous.

The new manager has 11 players contracted and more are set to come.

O'Connor admitted the two-year deal Rovers were offering made all the difference as well as the chance to win silverware, while for Quigley it was a chance to come home after two seasons playing outside the capital.


Finally, the PFAI Player of the Year has some stability in the form of a two-year deal at Tallaght Stadium. The move re-unites him with Croly, who coached him during his four-year stint at St Pat's and, while he is leaving the champions Sligo Rovers and turned down an offer from MLS side Dallas FC, he feels that a return to the Hoops was the right move.

"I've moved around a lot. It is good to get back to Dublin, having been in Dundalk and Sligo," said Quigley, who spent part of the 2005 season on loan at Rovers. "I have a two-year deal and I'm delighted with that. I want a bit of stability, to try and kick on and stay here as long as I can."

That will depend on Quigley's ability to settle, something that hasn't always come naturally to him despite all the practice. The striker left St Pat's after a successful, yet trophyless, stint and had a mixed year at Bohemians.

After financial chaos led to a Bohs exodus, he pitched up at Dundalk and impressed, earning a move to Sligo where, after a sluggish start, he found his feet and drove them to a title.

But the self-confessed "home bird" was intent on returning to the capital.

"It was tough to leave Sligo; to leave the league champions is a hard thing to do, but it was the right move for me," he said. "I'm a family man and it was tough leaving my wife and young daughter for days on end sometimes. It's good to be home and I've come to a massive club."

Irish Independent

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