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The country's 'best young goalkeeper' Conor O'Malley makes UK move

The League One club is owned by Darragh MacAnthony and counts Chris Forrester as one of their standout players.

Image: Presseye/Lorcan Doherty; ©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

HIGHLY-RATED IRISH goalkeeper Conor O’Malley has signed a two-year deal with League One side Peterborough United.

The 23-year-old makes the move from St. Patrick’s Athletic, where he’d been since 2015.

The Mayo native has carved out quite the reputation in a short space of time and settled in as the club’s number one after Brendan Clarke’s departure to Limerick, winning back-to-back EA Sports Cup titles in 2015 and 2016.

As a measure of his burgeoning profile, O’Malley was shortlisted as SSE Airtricity League Player of the Month for July.

He joins a UK club with quite an Irish influence.

Peterborough’s chairman is Darragh MacAnthony, a businessman from Dublin while Chris Forrester has enjoyed a solid time at London Road Stadium since he joined from Pat’s in 2015, the recipient of the Players’ Player of the Year award at the end of his first season and captaining the side for some of last term.

Commenting on O’Malley’s departure, Pat’s boss Liam Buckley had the following to say.

Conor has been a great professional with us since he joined us in 2015.  His form in the last few weeks and months has been fantastic and has recently seen him earn a nomination for Player of the Month.  This opportunity presented itself to join Peterborough and while we would love to have retained Conor, we could not step in his way to halt a move which could see him further his career.”

Pat’s have acted swiftly to replace O’Malley and have confirmed the signing of 26 year old goalkeeper Lukasz Skowron, who has experience playing in Portugal, Cyprus and his native Poland.

Posh say they fended off interest in O’Malley from Championship clubs and are understandably delighted with the capture.

“Conor has been tremendous for St. Pats in Ireland for the last year or so and there has been a lot of talk about him,” says manager Grant McCann.

“He was brought to my attention by the chairman Darragh MacAnthony and we sent scouts over to watch him. When we bring players to this football club, we all have an input in it, myself, the chairman and Barry Fry and when we all agree, we proceed and after watching his clips and meeting the lad, I think he has got all the tools to go on and be a top goalkeeper.

Conor O'Malley Source: Donall Farmer; ©INPHO/Donall Farmer/INPHO

“He is a down to earth lad, he is 6ft 3, is brave, will come for crosses and really good with his feet and he will keep Jonathan (Bond) and Josh (Tibbetts) on their toes.

I want to make sure we have three keepers fighting for two places. Conor knows Chris Forrester very well. Chris has talked to me about him, I have a lot of contacts in Ireland and I have spoken to three or four managers in the Irish Premier League and they all tell me he is the top young keeper out there.

“I am delighted to have him on board, without me sounding like a broken record and saying loads of clubs were after him, it is the truth, there were Championship clubs in for him and I am really pleased he has decided to join us and look forward to working with him,” McCann said.

Peterborough finished 11th last season in what was their fourth successive stint in League One following relegation from the Championship in 2013.

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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