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League Two loan switch for Ireland and Celtic defender Lee O'Connor

The Waterford native is to spend the season accumulating first-team experience at Tranmere Rovers.

Lee O'Connor pictured during his Republic of Ireland senior debut against New Zealand last November.
Lee O'Connor pictured during his Republic of Ireland senior debut against New Zealand last November.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

TRANMERE ROVERS HAVE announced the signing of Lee O’Connor on loan from Celtic.

The Republic of Ireland international full-back is to spend the season with the English club, who were relegated from League One at the end of the 2019-20 campaign.

O’Connor, who has yet to make a first-team breakthrough at Celtic, will aim to continue his development by accumulating further experience of competitive senior football on Merseyside.

The 20-year-old Waterford native joined the Scottish Premiership champions on a four-year contract from Manchester United in September 2019. 

“I am happy the move is now over the line,” he said of his loan switch to Tranmere. “It is a massive football club. From the conversations I have had with the gaffer, the plans are very intriguing and you know straight away how he wants to play.

“I spent a long time with Manchester United so I know the north-west well. I can’t wait for the league to start and hopefully I can help the club achieve what they want to achieve.

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“I have learnt a lot from my time at Manchester United, Celtic and playing international football, and I am looking to use that experience to help me push on at Tranmere Rovers.”

This is O’Connor’s second loan move away from Celtic. He joined Partick Thistle in January and made five appearances for the Scottish Championship club before the season was brought to a premature conclusion by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier this month, he was named Ireland’s U21 Player of the Year for 2019 after impressing while winning 11 caps under Stephen Kenny. His performances led to a senior international debut in last November’s friendly against New Zealand.

“First of all, I would like to thank Celtic for allowing us to sign their player on loan and we are delighted to have him in,” said Tranmere Rovers manager Mike Jackson.

“He is a young lad with an excellent pedigree and we are looking forward to him. He has a lot of ability, he is good on the ball, he will fit into the group well. He fits the way we want to play.”

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Paul Dollery

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