Thursday 26 April 2018

Rovers pounce late to snap up highly-rated Grace

Shamrock Rovers' new signing Lee Grace. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Shamrock Rovers' new signing Lee Grace. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Sligo Rovers were the busiest club on the League of Ireland's domestic transfer day but it was Shamrock Rovers that made the most significant late move by signing Galway United defender Lee Grace.

The highly-rated centre-half only joined Galway over the winter after spending two years with their new manager Shane Keegan at Wexford Youths.

His reputation has soared this term - Grace used to be in the army but is now a full-time player - and the 24-year-old has agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal with his new employers after the clubs reached agreement on a fee. The clubs have refused to disclose the amount but it's understood that the transfer could be worth in the region of €25,000.

Galway were reluctant to let the player leave but released a statement last night saying they had accepted an "improved offer" over the weekend. "The offer was accepted with the long-term future of the club in mind," said the statement.

Rovers boss Stephen Bradley said: "He's the perfect age for us, he's athletic, he's quick. He has all the qualities we're looking to bring into the club"

The Hoops' need was more pressing after defender Roberto Lopes was taken ill on Friday and faces a spell on the sidelines.

Galway have also waved goodbye to long-serving striker Vinny Faherty who has agreed a deal with relegation rivals Sligo Rovers. Jonah Ayunga has gone the other way after his loan at Sligo came to a close and Galway moved in to take him from Brighton for the rest of the season.

Sligo supremo Gerard Lyttle has also brought in another front man, Greg Moorhouse, from Glenavon and further used his Northern Irish connections to bring Jamie McDonagh back to these shores from Morton.

Bray Wanderers kept hold of their main men despite the recent upheaval at the club, although it's believed Gary McCabe was given the opportunity to join Linfield but turned down a move north.

Elsewhere, Dundalk have allowed centre-half Paddy Barrett to join his hometown club Waterford for the rest of the year on loan and he could join the First Division leaders permanently.

He follows Ciaran Kilduff out the door after his move to America was announced on Sunday. Kilduff could be replaced by former Dundalk striker Pat Hoban but there is no urgent need to get that deal done as he is a free agent.

Irish Independent

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