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Setback for Sligo Rovers as departure of promising youngster Keaney is confirmed

The versatile Republic of Ireland U19 international has accepted the offer of a scholarship from UCD.

Jack Keaney celebrates after scoring a stunning free-kick for Sligo Rovers against Shamrock Rovers in May.
Jack Keaney celebrates after scoring a stunning free-kick for Sligo Rovers against Shamrock Rovers in May.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

SLIGO ROVERS CONFIRMED today that former Republic of Ireland U19 international Jack Keaney has left the club to join UCD.

Keaney, who can operate in defence and midfield, bids farewell to the Bit O’ Red after accepting an offer of a scholarship in the capital. Liam Kerrigan is also expected to make the same move.

Having come through the underage system at Sligo Rovers, Keaney graduated to the first team in 2017 and made 54 appearances in all competitions.

The 20-year-old Donegal native scored six goals for the club, one of which was a stunning free-kick that earned them a 2-1 victory over Shamrock Rovers in May.

“We are sorry to lose Jack from the squad,” said Sligo Rovers manager Liam Buckley. “He has had this offer from UCD for a couple of seasons. He has decided at this final juncture to take it up and we respect that decision.

“Jack has made great strides and for a man of his age he has had a big influence on the pitch, as well as off of it. He can be very proud of that progress made.

Source: RTÉ Sport/YouTube

“As a club we do not want to lose any player. Our education partnership will help that cause going forward. The underage system here is very good and it shows that players get opportunities.

“We are likely to lose one more player come the end of the month but we will look to bring in one or two to add to the squad. We will update on that shortly.”

While Keaney’s loss is likely to be a significant blow to Sligo Rovers, his arrival at UCD is a much-needed boost for manager Collie O’Neill, who has recently had to contend with the departures of Conor Davis (Derry City), Neil Farrugia and Gary O’Neill (both Shamrock Rovers).

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“This has been an extremely difficult decision to make, and I want to thank everyone at Sligo Rovers, and the Sligo Rovers fans, for all the support they have given me over the last number of seasons,” Keaney said.

“I leave here not only having grown as footballer, but more importantly as a person too. This is a special club that will forever hold a place in my heart, and I want to wish everyone at Sligo Rovers all the best for the rest of the season.”

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