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Dublin: -1 °C Sunday 18 March, 2018

Ex-Mayo minor star commits to Sligo despite 'interest from a club playing in Europe next year'

Gary Boylan is to stay at The Showgrounds for the 2018 season.

Stephen Dooley and Gary Boylan Gary Boylan of Sligo Rovers under pressure from Cork City's Stephen Dooley. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

SLIGO ROVERS HAVE confirmed that Gary Boylan is to remain with the club for the 2018 season.

The versatile 21-year-old, who made his debut for Rovers in 2014, says he rejected interest from a club playing in Europe next season to sign a new contract to stay at The Showgrounds.

Having helped the Bit o’ Red to avoid relegation to the First Division in 2017, Boylan is keen to play his part as the club seeks better fortunes next year.

“I’m delighted to sign back,” said Boylan, who can play in midfield or as a full-back. “The past couple of years have not been what we wanted but there is ambition next season to do bigger and better things. We want to challenge in the top half and further up.

“We have kept many of the players from last year. We had a really good finish to the season which proved how good the squad was for the latter part of the season. We’ve kept the players that helped us stay up and hopefully we can bring in more now to improve the squad further.

“I had interest from a club playing in Europe next year and when a club doing that comes in for you, you will think about. I just think next year at Sligo will be a big year. There are big things going to happen, I feel.”

A native of Belmullet, Boylan was a star of the Mayo minor football team that won the Connacht title in 2014. He kicked four points in their All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Kerry.

Gary Boylan Boylan in possession for Mayo against Kerry in the 2014 All-Ireland minor football semi-final. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Sligo Rovers manager Gerard Lyttle has suggested that Boylan could be the ideal replacement for right-back Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, who has left Sligo to join newly-crowned Premier Division champions Cork City.

“Gary’s talent is there for all to see. We want him to become a regular in a position next season,” said Lyttle, who has already signed up several key members of his 2017 squad to new deals, as well as bringing in Adam Wixted, David Cawley and Caolan McAleer.

“There was interest in him from one or two clubs and we’ve shown what we want to do because he’s one of our own and we don’t want to lose the players we’ve brought through. It’s the ambition here to do that and keep the players here regardless of what other clubs do.

“We want Gary to be more consistent next year. His downfall is that he has too many positions. I could list them all day and he’s a manager’s dream in that sense. We see him as a central midfielder or right-back. He can play holding or as a box-to-box number eight.

“With Tobi leaving, it will also create an opportunity for Gary at right-back. I had a long conversation with him and he wants to settle in one position. He’s the type of player that will play goal in goals if I asked him.

“He feels he can play that number eight role and there is that opportunity at right-back now too. He needs to work a bit more on some aspects of right-back and he will.

“We’re delighted to have him on board. I want him to be able to reflect on next season as his most consistent at the club and if he can do that he will be a really influential player for us.”

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