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Derry City complete signing of ex-Reading forward Davis as UCD exodus continues

The 21-year-old helped The Students claim the SSE Airtricity League First Division title last season.

DERRY CITY HAVE completed the signing of UCD forward Conor Davis, as the struggling Dublin side continue to have their squad gutted with another key departure.

The 21-year-old made 14 Premier Division appearances in the opening half of this season and adds further firepower to Declan Devine’s frontline as Derry seek a European finish.

Davis, an Ireland underage international, joined Reading at the age of 16 from Templeogue United but returned home after struggling to make a breakthrough at the Madejski.

Jack Byrne with Conor Davis Davis in action against Shamrock Rovers midfield Jack Byrne last month. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

“I had a good first half of the season at UCD,” Davis said on Sunday after his transfer was confirmed. “I feel that I progressed as a player and I’m ready to make that next step now. [I remember] the fans at Derry as the place was rocking in that first game of the season, so that’s something I’m excited to be a part of too.”

The forward was instrumental as UCD secured the SSE Airtricity League First Division title last season under Collie O’Neill, however The Students are currently facing a serious relegation fight at the moment.

Friday night’s 1-0 loss at home to St Patrick’s Athletic was UCD’s 10th consecutive Premier Division defeat, leaving the Belfield club bottom of the table behind Finn Harps. Derry manager Declan Devine said Davis was a player his side always anticipated as a key threat during their meetings this season.

Any time that we played UCD this year we always showed the players clips of Conor Davis because we felt that he was their main man and we felt that he was a player who could hurt Derry City Football Club,” Devine said.

“He is exactly the type of  player that we want to build this football club on. He’s exciting, he’s talented and he’s also at a very good age in terms of having the potential to further his career whether that’s here or in England.

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“He has high ambitions, we have high ambitions as a football club and he meets all the targets we have when we bring players to the club.”

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Reading v Blackpool - Reading Training - Hogwood Park Davis spent four years on the books of Reading and returned to UCD in August 2018. Source: EMPICS Sport

A number of Irish clubs were competing for Davis’ signature. The striker said Derry was a destination that appealed to him as the club seek to bring European football back to the Brandywell.

“There were a few clubs after me but as soon as contact was made from Derry it was something that really interested me,” he said.

“After a few texts I came up here and I met the manager and a few of the staff and a few of the players and I knew early that the club was going in the right direction. There’s great ambition and that’s something I want to be a part of.”

Davis’ move marks another big setback for UCD. Captain Gary O’Neill and Ireland U21 winger Neil Farrugia both completed moves to Shamrock Rovers earlier this week, while Georgie Kelly also left for Dundalk this time last year.

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Aaron Gallagher

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