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Waterford continue to strengthen with capture of PFAI First Division Goalkeeper of the Year

23-year-old Laois native Niall Corbet joins the First Division champions following six seasons at UCD.

Niall Corbet pictured during a Europa League qualifier for UCD against Slovan Bratislava.
Niall Corbet pictured during a Europa League qualifier for UCD against Slovan Bratislava.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

WATERFORD HAVE ADDED further strength in depth to their squad as they return to the Premier Division for the first time in a decade with the addition of UCD goalkeeper Niall Corbet.

The club on Friday confirmed the capture of the the 23-year-old following a stellar season which saw Corbet named PFAI First Division Goalkeeper of the Year for 2017.

Consistent performances from the Laois man saw the Students finish 12 points behind Waterford in a season where Alan Reynolds’ side ran away with the title during the first half of the campaign.

“I am delighted to sign for Waterford and I look forward to the challenge of full time football in 2018,” Corbet said this week.

“Playing against the club four times last year you could clearly see something big was happening.

“I spoke with several players at the club and they spoke very highly of the management team and structure in place, the levels of professionalism on display at the club was a big attraction to me.”

The player spent six seasons playing at UCD after joining from Dublin club Home Farm in 2011.

After establishing himself in the club’s U19 squad Corbet made his senior competitive debut in 2014, featuring in back-to-back campaigns in the Premier Divison and also playing in all four of the club’s Europa League qualifiers in 2015.

“I had a great six years at UCD,” he noted. “The club did a lot for me during that time and I will always have fond memories of playing with UCD at every level from U19, Leinster Senior League, Premier Division and First Division.

“UCD gave me the opportunity to play at the top level and trusted me with their number 1 jersey; I owe them a lot for my development as a goalkeeper during my time at the club.”

The player will compete alongside last season’s number one Matthew Connor for a starting position, but said he is under no illusions of the challenges that lie ahead making the step up to Premier Division football next season.

“Waterford were very strong last season. They attracted some top players and you could see that in the way they played exciting football. They had a huge following which made it such an enjoyable game experience each time I played at the RSC.

“I have a big challenge ahead with Matt (Connor) who is obviously a top keeper, so having a weekly battle with him will hopefully push us both on and help our development.”

The goalkeeper becomes Waterford’s fourteenth squad member ahead of the 2018 Premier Division campaign, with Gary Comerford, Dave Webster, Ismahil Akinade and Bastien Héry all joining.

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Aaron Gallagher

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