herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Kelly aims to be pat's new hero

Dubliner's day job forces him to swap Rovers for Buckley's revamped squad

JUST months after he secured a memorable league title win for Shamrock Rovers, Dean Kelly has been forced to give up the chance of a tilt at the Champions League next season and has rejoined his work-mates in the maintenance department of Dublin City Council.

Kelly has effectively been a full-time footballer for the last 18 months, due to a spell in England with Oldham Athletic and then a season with Rovers. But due to the fact that Rovers will train during the morning under Stephen Kenny next season, the Dubliner is unable to continue and has decided to quit the Hoops, move to St Patrick's Athletic and resume his day job.

"It was my choice to leave Rovers," Kelly told the Herald after completing his move to St Pat's earlier this week.

"Stephen Kenny wanted me to stay but I work outside of football -- at Rovers there was only really myself and Stephen Rice who had jobs outside football -- and there was no way around it. I work for Dublin City Council and it wasn't going to be possible to keep that job with the way Rovers will be next season.

"Rovers will be in at 10am for training and I can't work a job around that. Last season we trained around 4.30pm and it could be managed but I can't keep this job and train in the mornings at the same time.

"I used up as much of my holidays as I could for pre-season but now Rovers plan to go with the 10am sessions and I can't do that.

"It's a sign of the times that I have to put my job first. I have two young kids and a big mortgage -- I bought a house during the boom so I have to put my family first.

"If you get a move away to a big club in Britain you could give up your day job, but I can't do that, you just can't rely on Irish football as a way of earning a living," added Kelly.

"I have a good job with the City Council, we work on dangerous buildings, clearing sites and things like that, so it's a good job to have in this day and age and I have to make sure I keep that job."

Kelly, who moved to Oldham from Crumlin United two years ago, says he had offers from other clubs in Ireland and abroad but opted to join Liam Buckley's experiment in Inchicore.

"There was interest from elsewhere, a couple of small offers from teams in England but nothing that really interested me because it was a big risk to move my family away.

"Liam Buckley was in touch with me and as Pat's were a Dublin club I was happy to sign," he says.

"I know a lot of the lads here already. I played with Pat Flynn at Rovers and I've played against a lot of the lads," added Kelly, who is eager to have a good season after injury stopped his progress last season. The striker missed a chunk of the term but returned to the side in dramatic fashion and scored the winning goal against UCD on the second-last day, which secured Rovers a second successive league title.

"I think I played well whenever I was in the team but I had bad luck with injury and it took me longer than expected to get fit again," he adds.

"There are a lot of good strikers here already so I know I won't walk into the team at Pat's.

"I can play in a few positions. I played out wide a bit for Rovers last season so I can do that here as well.

"I'm fully fit now and I hope I can bang in a few goals for Pats."

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