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Dublin: 7 °C Monday 10 December, 2018

Former Ireland U21 international joins Shamrock Rovers from Fulham

Sean Kavanagh has signed on the dotted line with Stephen Bradley’s side.

New signing Sean Kavanagh poses in Shamrock Rovers gear.
New signing Sean Kavanagh poses in Shamrock Rovers gear.

SHAMROCK ROVERS HAVE today announced the signing of former Ireland U21 defender Sean Kavanagh from Fulham.

The 24-year-old has experience of first-team football in the Championship, making over 20 appearances in his time with the Cottagers.

However, the Dubliner has recently found himself surplus to requirements at Craven Cottage and has consequently opted to make the move to the Tallaght side, despite previously being heavily linked to Derry City.

Kavanagh will go straight into the squad for Friday night’s game with Dundalk, pending international clearance.

“I’m delighted to be here,” he told the official Shamrock Rovers site. “It’s the biggest club in Ireland so as soon as it comes knocking it’s hard to say no. I’m looking forward to getting started.

“Stephen McPhail and Stephen Bradley rang me and it came about quite quickly over the weekend to get it done for today. I was really close to signing for Derry, I was just waiting for my deal to get sorted at Fulham. But Rovers came knocking and I’m a Dublin boy. It’s tough to turn down Rovers.

I loved it at Fulham. I was in the academy when Damien Duff was there and he was always good to me. I’m looking forward to catching up with him. It was a big achievement for me and my family when I made my debut.

“I found it tough in the second season, the manager brought in a couple of players in my position and sort of pushed me back in the pecking order. Then I got injured as well so that didn’t help. It happens in football. I played a few games with Hartlepool and Mansfield but I still look back on my time in England quite fondly.

“I’m looking to play football here and enjoy it and hopefully win things. I saw Rovers play a couple of times last year, I saw the derby when Brandon Miele scored the winner. From training with the lads you can see they’re all good players and they like to play the same type of football as me. That was a big part of coming here, when the gaffer spoke to me about it.

“You know you’re coming into a good team when there’s competition for places and that’ll drive me on. Tallaght is one of the best stadiums in the league and there’ll be a lot of fans there on Friday. I know a couple of Rovers fans myself and they’re looking forward to the first home game as well.”

Rovers boss Bradley added: “Damien Duff was with Sean at Fulham and made me well aware of him, about a year ago, what type of player and character he was. He said if he became available we should definitely try and get him, so we just kept tabs on him.

“When we knew he was agreeing to leave Fulham we made contact. He’s been training at Derry and I know they liked him but once we spoke to him he said there’s only one place he wanted to play. It was pretty straightforward, we met with him and it was agreed within two or three hours.

“Sean’s played at a really good level for a number of years now. He can play a number of positions, full-back, left or right-wing or centre-midfield. He has really good quality on the ball. He’s a good professional, he wants to work hard and do his business right so it all just fitted for what we need.

Our forwards are good in the box in terms of being target men, so you obviously need good quality to go into them and Sean’s delivery with his left foot, as we saw in training this morning, is as good as anyone. He puts it right on the spot for people and I think he’ll be a big asset to us going forward.

“I remember watching him down in Cork last year for Fulham in pre-season and I watched him for Ireland a few times before. I always liked him in terms of how he played and approached the game. Damien knew him really well as a person and spoke highly of him.

“When you speak to Sean he just wants to play now and get back and enjoy his football. He wants to show people that he’s a good player by playing regular football for a big club.

“He’s in competition with Trevor Clarke and Luke Byrne and he can play up above them as well. You saw at the weekend that Ally Gilchrist was able to slot in at left-back, I think we have a number of players that can move into two or three positions fairly comfortably. Sean can play full-back and with the quality in his left foot he’s really attacking minded, he can play either wing.”

Kavanagh started his career at Belvedere before joining Fulham’s academy in 2011. He made his senior debut against Wolves in August 2014 and went on to make further appearances that season before a serious injury hampered his progress.

In addition to making 27 appearances at senior level for the Championship side, he also had loan stints at Mansfield Town (2015-16) and Hartlepool (2016-17).

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Paul Fennessy

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