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Irish defender leaves captain's role at Scottish Premiership club to join League One side

The Galway native has signed for Southend United.

Joe Shaughnessy at St Johnstone.
Joe Shaughnessy at St Johnstone.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

SOUTHEND UNITED HAVE completed the signing of Galway native Joe Shaughnessy in time for their opening game of the season.

Shaughnessy could make his debut for his new club in tomorrow’s League One opener away to Coventry City.

The 27-year-old defender makes the move to Roots Hall after spending the past four seasons with Scottish Premiership side St Johnstone, where he was captain. He began his professional career at Aberdeen. 

“I’m very pleased,” said Shaughnessy, who impressed Southend manager Kevin Bond during a recent trial game against Millwall.

“After last week and playing in the friendly against Millwall, I was very happy when the manager said he wants to have me here. It’s good to get it done and to be back into training with the lads.

“I’ve been up in Scotland for 10 years and towards the end of last season and over the summer, my aim was to give England a go and when the opportunity to come here became available it was perfect and it all worked out well.”

The former Ireland U21 international added: “I was kind of thrown into the captaincy at St Johnstone and I had to learn that side of the game. But over the past couple years it’s definitely something I’ve developed.

“My job is to come here and help us get clean sheets at the end of the day, so I’d like to think that’s what I will bring to the team.”

Shaughnessy, whose younger brother Conor is on the books at Leeds United, joins Southend as a free agent after rejecting an offer of a contract extension from St Johnstone.

“I thought he played well in the game against Millwall and couldn’t have done anymore,” said Southend boss Kevin Bond. “He didn’t really know the players but played like he had been with us for ages.

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“He’s a cracking guy, he wants to do well and was desperate to come to England, so I’m delighted to get him. Truthfully he could have gone almost anywhere in Scotland. He wanted the challenge that England brings and we’ve offered him that challenge.

“He had opportunities to go to a number of clubs but I suppose because he spent a bit of time with us and he saw what we were about that was enough for him.”

Shaughnessy could form a partnership with former Aston Villa defender Liam Ridgewell, who has also joined Southend ahead of the new season.

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Paul Dollery

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