McShane made 37 Rochdale appearances. PA
Parting ways

Paul McShane joins list of Irish internationals entering free agency

The veteran defender made 37 appearances during his time on the books at Rochdale.

PAUL MCSHANE IS no longer a Rochdale player after it was revealed this afternoon that the veteran Irish defender is leaving the club following the expiration of his contract.

McShane joined Rochdale in October 2019, having been released by Reading. He made 37 appearances for the Spotland outfit, who were recently relegated to League Two.

The 35-year-old Wicklow native now joins a growing contingent of Irish players with senior international experience who are entering free agency this summer.

The list already includes Alan Judge, Stephen Ward (both let go by Ipswich Town), Shaun Williams (Millwall), Stephen Quinn (Burton Albion), Glenn Whelan (Fleetwood Town), Eddie Nolan (Crewe Alexandra), Darron Gibson (Salford City) and Conor Sammon (Falkirk).

Rochdale have entered negotiations over new contracts with captain Eoghan O’Connell, Player of the Year Jimmy Keohane and fellow League of Ireland graduate Stephen Dooley, while Jimmy Ryan has been released.

Former Republic of Ireland U21 international Conor Shaughnessy is leaving the club after deciding against activating an option in his contract for an additional year.

The 24-year-old from Galway, who can operate in defence and midfield, joined Brian Barry-Murphy’s side in January on the back of a four-and-a-half-year spell at Leeds United.

“Conor Shaughnessy informed the club over the weekend that he plans to move on next season,” explained Rochdale’s Irish manager Brian Barry-Murphy.

“In the short period he’d been with us he was very committed to what we were trying to achieve towards the end of the season. However, he has decided his future lies elsewhere next season and we respect that, wish him the very best wherever he ends up, and thank him for his efforts whilst he’s been with us.”

Ex-Ireland youth goalkeeper Jack Bonham is another man who’ll be on the move, having rejected the offer of a new contract at League One club Gillingham.

Earlier this week, League One-bound Cambridge United confirmed that they’re in discussions with the evergreen Wes Hoolahan, who turns 39 tomorrow, about a new deal.

Negotiations regarding contract extensions are also in progress with Ireland senior goalkeeper Rob Elliot and former U21 international defender Ryan Delaney at Watford and Bolton Wanderers respectively.

Full-back Sean Long has been offered a new deal by Cheltenham Town after helping them achieve promotion to League One, while a contract extension is also on the table at Millwall for central defender Alex Pearce.

Others who have been let go by their clubs include Tommie Hoban (Aberdeen), Ian Lawlor (Doncaster Rovers), Alan McCormack (Southend United), Shane McLoughlin and Callum Reilly (both AFC Wimbledon).

Bosun Lawal, a 17-year-old midfielder who’s part of this week’s Ireland U19 training camp, has been offered a professional contract at Premier League-bound Watford.

Joe Mason has already found a new club following his departure from MK Dons. Canadian Premier League outfit Cavalry FC have signed the ex-Ireland U21 striker.

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