'I was kept in the dark': Ex-Limerick striker Gaffney relieved after sealing Bristol switch

Rory Gaffney hoping to continue his red-hot form for Bristol Rovers.

IT WASN’T A case that Rory Gaffney wanted to leave Cambridge United — more so that he wanted to join Bristol Rovers.

Gaffney secured an 18-month deal with the Gas on Thursday after parent club Cambridge agreed to let him make his loan move permanent.

Originally joining the Bristol outfit as a means to get first-team opportunities, Gaffney’s own success seemed to have cost him his transfer to Darrell Clarke’s high-flyers, but after some negotiations, the former Limerick striker joined the club for whom he scored five goals in a seven-game stretch.

Gaffney’s form for Bristol has been exceptional but he modestly puts the seemingly perfect fit down to luck.

The Tuam native said: “I probably did get lucky. I just happened to find a way a team that suited me – formations and style of play.”

It kind of feels like I’ve just arrived in England really. I’ve only played 14 games and only got a run in the last eight. I found it tough before – getting a game one week and not playing again for another while.

After originally being spotted by Richard Money, Gaffney had a turbulent time at the Abbey Stadium – suffering setback after setback.

He explained: “My first nine months [at Cambridge] were a nightmare.

“I ended up having to get surgery on an ankle injury when I was hoping I’d continue the form that I had while at Limerick. From there, I was behind all the lads in pre-season and it took me a while to get back near the fitness levels required off after such a long layoff.

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“It was Richard who signed me and gave me my first start. I scored twice that day and go dropped the following week – ironically in a 2-1 loss to Bristol Rovers – and Richard lost his job two days later.”

After Money departed, United appointed Shaun Derry as first team manager – a blow to Gaffney’s first team aspirations.

I was only there with [Shaun Derry] about ten days when he told me he couldn’t see me getting a game there. Shaun told me he wasn’t aware of me and that he thought I played for Sligo Rovers back in Ireland.

“He told me there were a number of players ahead of me and that it was too big of a gamble to try and stay and fight for my place. I didn’t really want to leave on loan but when Bristol said they’d take me – I was more than happy to go there”, said Gaffney.

After a week of uncertainty for the 26-year-old, Bristol secured Gaffney his move and despite the efforts his manager made to sign him, Gaffney isn’t taking anything for granted.

He said: “[Darrell] hasn’t told me I’ll be starting. He just said he wants me to continue to work hard and for the team; to focus on the football now that everything’s sorted.

I think relieved is the best way to describe how I feel. I was kept in the dark as to what was happening and just got a call to say the clubs had come to an agreement.

“It wasn’t exactly a case of wanting to leave Cambridge, but it was definitely a case of wanting to be at Bristol.”

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