Thursday 18 January 2018

Dean: I'm up for Bohs challenge

Dundalk v Derry City (Live, RTE2, ko 7.45)

Bohemians’ Dean O’Halloran
Bohemians’ Dean O’Halloran

After the bright lights of London faded, Ireland U19 cap Dean O'Halloran is finding his feet back home in Ireland.

And the Waterford man, currently part of Keith Long's Bohemians side, is confident he can use he League of Ireland as a finishing school to get another chance at full-time football.

O'Halloran, 20, ended a four-year spell at Fulham earlier this year when he packed his bags and returned to Ireland, turning down possible trials in England to give the LOI a go.

He's still in the bedding-in phase with Bohs and, after five league appearances, his short-term aim is to nab his first goal, but for now O'Halloran's content with his lot, having been in a comfort zone at Fulham, who were a stable Premier League/Europa League side when he joined but have since slumped and struggled.

"I had four years at Fulham but it got to the stage where I just wasn't pushing on. I had left the U21 set up but wasn't yet ready for the first team, but I am still young and I still have time on my side, and the LOI is a good platform to have," says O'Halloran.

"When you go over as a youth team player to a Premier League club you think you've made it, but you have to take a step back and look at yourself when you get to 19 or 20 and be realistic, ask where you are going in your career, realise that you might have to go home to get things moving.

"Some people think that going home to Ireland is the end of it all but it's not like that, it's a great platform, you're in the shop window and playing first team football against men, that's what you are judged on when you go back over," added O'Halloran, who put in another good shift in Monday's 1-0 win over Wexford Youths.

"For a while there it was going really well, we were in the FA Youth Cup final, I was training with the Fulham first team and doing ok, but sometimes you get sucked into it as that's not the reality. I know some people who would pack it in, rather than come home, but I feel I have done the right thing.

"I had a decision to make, did I want to stay over in England, be in and around the reserves at some club, or come home and play? I decided it was best to come home and try to play first team football here, get some experience. I could have stayed, I'd been at Portsmouth on trial and there were other offers of trials but I felt it was best to come home."

He admits that Bohs fans have yet to see him at full tilt. "The next thing is for me to get my first goal but for now it's about getting my fitness up and get to the stage where I can last for 90 minutes. I want to play at the highest level I can, hopefully I can get fully fit by the end of the season. We will try and win every game, move further up the table, this is a big club so there is pressure on us to do well even though we're not in contention for trophies, we want to finish as high as we can."

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