Thursday 17 January 2019

Shamrock Rovers see off Derry City to sign former Fulham defender

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley with Sean Kavanagh
Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley with Sean Kavanagh

Shamrock Rovers have beaten off the challenge of Derry City to complete the signing of former Fulham defender Sean Kavanagh.

The 24-year-old former Ireland youth international played 27 times in the Championship with the Londoners and also had spells on loan with Mansfield Town (2015-16) and Hartlepool (2016-17).

Kavanagh will go straight into Rovers' squad for Friday night's home league clash against Dundalk.

"I'm delighted to be here. It's the biggest club in Ireland so as soon as it comes knocking it's hard to say no. I'm looking forward to getting started.

"Stephen McPhail and Stephen Bradley rang me and it came about quite quickly over the weekend to get it done for today. I was really close to signing for Derry, I was just waiting for my deal to get sorted at Fulham. But Rovers came knocking and I'm a Dublin boy. It's tough to turn down Rovers.

"I loved it at Fulham. I was in the academy when Damien Duff was there and he was always good to me. I'm looking forward to catching up with him. It was a big achievement for me and my family when I made my debut.

"I found it tough in the second season, the manager brought in a couple of players in my position and sort of pushed me back in the pecking order. Then I got injured as well so that didn't help. It happens in football. I played a few games with Hartlepool and Mansfield but I still look back on my time in England quite fondly.

Rovers boss Bradley added: "Damien Duff was with Sean at Fulham and made me well aware of him, about a year ago, what type of player and character he was. He said if he became available we should definitely try and get him so we just kept tabs on him.

"When we knew he was agreeing to leave Fulham we made contact. He's been training at Derry and I know they liked him but once we spoke to him he said there's only one place he wanted to play. It was pretty straight forward, we met with him and it was agreed within two or three hours.

"Sean's played at a really good level for a number of years now. He can play a number of positions, full-back, left or right-wing or centre-midfield. He has really good quality on the ball. He's a good professional, he wants to work hard and do his business right so it all just fitted for what we need.

"Our forwards are good in the box in terms of being target men so you obviously need good quality to go into them and Sean's delivery with his left foot, as we saw in training this morning, is as good as anyone. He puts it right on the spot for people and I think he'll be a big asset to us going forward.

"I remember watching him down in Cork last year for Fulham in pre-season and I watched him for Ireland a few times before. I always liked him in terms of how he played and approached the game. Damien knew him really well as a person and spoke highly of him.

"When you speak to Sean he just wants to play now and get back and enjoy his football. He wants to show people that he's a good player by playing regular football for a big club.

"He's in competition with Trevor Clarke and Luke Byrne and he can play up above them as well. You saw at the weekend that Ally Gilchrist was able to slot in at left-back, I think we have a number of players that can move into two or three positions fairly comfortably. Sean can play full-back and with the quality in his left foot he's really attacking minded, he can play either wing."

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