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Statement of intent as Bray snap up Waterford captain and ex-Leeds midfielder Keegan

The 34-year-old Dubliner joins the Seagulls having spent two seasons at the RSC.

Keegan captained Waterford to fourth place last season.
Keegan captained Waterford to fourth place last season.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

BRAY WANDERERS HAVE delivered one of the signings of the off-season after agreeing a deal for Waterford captain Paul Keegan, as the Seagulls prepare for life in the second tier next season.

The Wicklow club suffered relegation to the First Division this past season following a campaign of persistent struggles on and off the field of play.

Keegan’s capture is a clear statement of intent as they attempt to return to the Premier Division in 2019, where they will face stiff competition from teams including Shelbourne, Longford Town, Limerick and Galway United for promotion.

Soccer - Friendly - Kettering Town v Leeds United Keegan spent five years at Leeds United having signed from Home Farm in 2000. Source: Tony Marshall

The 34-year-old’s departure comes as a surprise for Waterford. Keegan joined the Munster side after spending six years at Doncaster Rovers and helped the Blues to the First Division title in 2016.

Waterford’s success continued immediately this past year, with Alan Reynold’s men securing Europa League football for next summer during their first season back in the top flight since 2007 with Keegan as club captain.

Keegan began his career in youth football at Home Farm, before joining Leeds United in 2000 where he spent five years at Elland Road.

One of the most highly-rated midfielders in the Premier Division, he also represented Ireland from U16 to U23 level between 2000 and 2008.

Paul Keegan celebrates Keegan was appointed Waterford captain at the beginning of the 2018 Premier Division season. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“Paul brings considerable experience to the team and club in the journey going forward,” Bray said on Thursday afternoon after confirming the player’s arrival at the Carlisle Grounds.

“Paul has had a very successful career in both the UK /Ireland and looking forward to the season.”

Bray finished bottom of the Premier Division last season with just five wins in 36 games, with former player Gary Cronin taking the reigns as manager in August at the latter stages of a frustrating campaign.

On Thursday the club also confirmed the signing of Waterford winger Derek Daly. The 21-year-old Dubliner has previously played for Chesterfield, Sheffield United and Frickley Athletic before spending last season at the RSC.

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Aaron Gallagher

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