Sunday 26 January 2020

Shels boss is excited by new players

Deegan returns for step up in league

Cambridge United’s Gary Deegan in action during a League Two match last year
Cambridge United’s Gary Deegan in action during a League Two match last year

Shelbourne boss Ian Morris says he's expecting no more new arrivals at Tolka Park for the 2020 season.

The Reds, promoted back to the top flight as Division One champions, began their pre-season programme in earnest on Saturday, playing out a 2-2 draw with Wexford.

New signings Gary Deegan, Karl Sheppard, Georgie Poynton, Danny O'Reilly, Aaron Dobbs and Jack Brady all featured for Shels.

Morris is aware of how much a test it will be for the Reds to compete next season but for now he will work off the squad he has in place.

"If something pops up we will look at it but in terms of our budget, we will work with what we have now," Morris says.

"We have 22 signed up, I am pleased with the squad I have, it's a good bunch to work with, we have done our work behind the scenes to get players signed up

"We have some very good young players at the club, some of our U19s stepped up to the first team on Saturday and did well, we have a very strong U19 side and some of them are in my thoughts already."

Midfielder Deegan returns to Shels, his first senior club, after a ten-year spell in England and Deegan, like fellow new arrival Karl Sheppard, comes with Premier Division titles on his CV.

And Morris feels their experience will be vital for the season ahead.

"We have a good blend of experience and youth, lads like Sean Quinn, Dan McKenna are still young but have a lot to offer," he says.

"Gary Deegan could be a great signing for us. He's in great shape.

"He had an illness over in England but he has a clean bill of health now. For the last few seasons he has been playing 40 games a season across the water, he has kept himself fit and he's in great shape," he added as Deegan made his Shels debut in Saturday's draw.

"The focus was getting 45 minutes out of the players and the conditions weren't easy but it was a good game for us."

Meanwhile, defender Shane McEleney is back in the League of Ireland after a four-year absence thanks to his move to Finn Harps from Larne.

The 28-year-old previously played for Derry City and St Patrick's Athletic but moved to Canada to play there. "Shane is a good player with a lot of experience in football both here and abroad and he'll be a big asset to us this year," said Harps manager Ollie Horgan.

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