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Major coup for Shamrock Rovers as Hoops sign highly-rated Derry attacker McEneff

Former Tottenham academy prospect Aaron McEneff has signed a deal with the Tallaght club.

The 23-year-old celebrates Derry City winning the EA Sports Cup back in September.
The 23-year-old celebrates Derry City winning the EA Sports Cup back in September.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

SHAMROCK ROVERS HAVE completed a deal for Derry City attacking midfielder Aaron McEneff, with the 23-year-old bringing a curtain down on three impressive seasons at the Brandywell.

The player began his career at local side Institute before earning a two-year scholarship move to Tottenham in May 2012. McEneff returned to Ireland three years later and signed for Derry City in July of 2015.

Since then he has excelled in the Premier Division, earning plaudits as one of the most exciting young players to play in the league, while being nominated for PFAI Young Player of the Year, Player of the Year and being named in the PFAI Team of the Year in 2017.

The Derry native said that he enjoyed playing against the Dublin club over recent seasons and looked forward to helping them inch higher up the table in 2019.

2018.11.20 Aaron McEneff 013 McEneff scored 25 goals in 95 appearances for Derry City. Source: tShamrock Rovers FC

“I’m very happy signing for Shamrock Rovers; obviously it’s a massive club,” he said.  “I’m delighted to get things done and I’m looking forward to the new season.

“Tallaght Stadium is my favourite place to play; whenever I was at Derry I loved coming down to play here because the pitch is always good, the facilities are brilliant and I loved coming down here because it gave me an excitement to go out and play a game of football.

I’ve loved playing down here and I’m sure I am going to love playing for the home team.”

Speaking about Rovers’ capture, head coach Stephen Bradley said that his side were getting an exciting young player who would score goals and contribute heavily in the final third.

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“Aaron does a bit of everything. He scored a lot of goals this year. He can start the game and he can play higher up, he’s a bit of an all-rounder. He brings great energy and legs to our midfield.

Aaron McEneff celebrates scoring their third goal with  penalty The 23-year-old was nominated for PFAI Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year at the end of 2017. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“He’s a great striker of the ball and he scores goals from all areas of the pitch, I think he’s shown that since he’s been in the league. He’s done that on a consistent basis so hopefully he can continue that with us next season. When he gets forward he scores goals and that’s one thing the fans like.

When you get a chance to sign someone of Aaron’s quality you don’t turn it down. You can never be happy with what you have as a team and a squad. You want players to fight for their place and Aaron coming in just adds to that because he’s a top player.

“Aaron had options elsewhere but he’s made this decision and we’re delighted that he sees his football here, that he wants to come and play for us. I can’t wait to get started and get working with him.”

McEneff scored 19 league goals in his last two seasons with Derry City, helping the club reach back-to-back European finishes and also secure the EA Sports Cup against Cobh Ramblers in September.

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Aaron Gallagher

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