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Sligo Rovers confirm sale of 'magnificent' Mahon to Scottish Cup holders

The 22-year-old defender is now a St Johnstone player – while Finn Harps have signed defender Erol Erdal Alkan

John Mahon playing for Sligo Rovers against Shamrock Rovers last October.
John Mahon playing for Sligo Rovers against Shamrock Rovers last October.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Updated Jan 23rd 2022, 8:22 PM

SLIGO ROVERS HAVE confirmed the transfer of promising defender John Mahon to Scottish outfit St Johnstone.

Mahon has signed a deal with the Perth club that runs until 2024 after Sligo accepted “an undisclosed transfer fee, plus additional future-based terms” according to a statement released by the Bit o’ Red.

Mahon, who made his first-team debut for his hometown club aged 17, has been a key player for Liam Buckley, as evidenced by his winning of Sligo Rovers’ Player of the Year award for 2021.

“The consistency John has shown over a number of seasons has been fantastic,” Buckley said of Mahon, who turned 22 in November. “At just 22 he evolved into someone who could lead and, most importantly, defend superbly well. We’ve watched him constantly improve over these last few seasons because his talent is there to see.

“John was someone who was attracting the interest of clubs for quite some time as he is able to play at a level up certainly. We knew that would be acted upon eventually. He’s been a magnificent player for this club and we all wish him well at St Johnstone.”

As well as finishing in fifth place in the Scottish Premiership last season, St Johnstone won both the Scottish Cup and the Scottish League Cup. However, they’re currently in a battle to retain their top-flight status for next season, with Callum Davidson’s side languishing at the bottom of the table.

“It has been the biggest honour to play over 100 times for this special club and I’ve loved it,” Mahon said of his time at Sligo Rovers. “I hope you all saw what it meant to me on the pitch.

“My ambition to play across the water has always been there and the chance has come along, which I feel I have to take.”

Mahon joins former Dundalk defender Dan Cleary in making the move to St Johnstone following the conclusion of the 2021 League of Ireland season.

His departure is likely to be keenly felt by the Sligo, with the Showgrounds outfit already preparing for life without 18-year-old striker Johnny Kenny, who recently moved to Celtic.

Liam Buckley added: “We’ve made good progress on new recruitment and we will have more on that quite soon. It’s the nature of the business that squads evolve and change over time. We still have a huge number of quality players here and we will finalise this year’s group, and I’m confident it will leave us well-placed to have an exciting year ahead.”

Elsewhere, Finn Harps today signed defender Erol Erdal Alkan.

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The towering centre half, also capable of playing centre midfield, becomes the latest addition to Ollie Horgan’s squad for the 2022 campaign. Born in the Netherlands, he opted to represent Turkey at international level and was capped three times for their U21 side.

The 27 year old most recently played with Turkish side Usakspor and has also spent time at Etar, Türkügü Munchen of Germany, Beroe, Dordrecht and Hatayspor. 

He told FinnHarps.ie: “I’m really excited for the opportunity to play for Finn Harps. Everyone has been fantastic since I moved over and helped me to settle in. It’s a strong, physical league which suits my game. I have heard great things about the fans and their passion, I’m looking forward to the start of the season.”

Ollie Horgan told club media: “Erol has good experience playing around Europe and will give us a lift at the back. There are a lot of new faces in the squad and it’ll take time for them to gel but he’s settled in well to be fair to him.”

About the author:

Paul Dollery

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