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'James will have a decision to make... Whatever he decides will be right for him'

Stephen Bradley has hinted Shamrock Rovers could be about to lose their talented teenage defender.

James Furlong is an Ireland underage international.
James Furlong is an Ireland underage international.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

- Paul Fennessy reports from Richmond Park

SHAMROCK ROVERS BOSS Stephen Bradley has hinted the club could lose talented teenage defender James Furlong in the coming days.

The 17-year-old Ireland underage international is highly regarded at Rovers and has already made his first-team debut, featuring against Dundalk last April.

The player’s impressive performances have prompted links with clubs across the water, and a recent RTÉ report suggested he was set to join Championship side Fulham.

And after seeing his team beat St Patrick’s Athletic 2-0, Bradley was asked whether he hoped the club could hold on to the youngster.

“James will have a decision to make,” he said. “He’s a great kid. He’s worked really hard. He’s doing well, so obviously there’s interest. But whatever he decides will be right for him, it’s his decision. If he keeps working hard, he has a chance.”

Should he move across the water, Furlong would follow in the footsteps of another Rovers academy graduate, Gavin Bazunu, who completed a move to Manchester City earlier this year.

The Hoops, meanwhile, have also brought a few players into their squad in recent days, with UCD pair Neil Farrugia and Gary O’Neill joining along with Cork City striker Graham Cummins, though all three were ineligible last night.

“You’re really happy, because when you’re speaking to them, Gary, Neil and Graham, obviously other clubs are interested in them and you’re not sure which way it’s going to go. You’re delighted to get the three of them in. They’ll definitely add to the team and the squad. They improve us. So I’m looking forward to them getting involved this week.

“UCD allowed Neil and Gary to come early, which is good. So I’ve got to know the players really well. And Graham’s in since Saturday.”

Of the hard-fought 2-0 victory over St Pat’s, Bradley expressed satisfaction and felt his team have not been playing as badly as a run of one point from their last three games has suggested: “Without being at our best, I thought we were pretty comfortable and deserved to win the game.

Our performances have been really good, so there’s never been any worry — we just have to keep doing what we’re doing. On Friday, we had five or six really good chances to win the game [against Dundalk] and we didn’t. Tonight, we probably had three and we take two of them — that’s just the way it’s been at the moment.

“I thought we were good tonight all over, but we weren’t at our levels. I think you could see Friday had taken a bit out of the legs. We were a little bit sloppy in our decision-making and our passing.

“We knew [after the second goal] the game was over and it was just about keeping our shape, keeping the ball in front of us really.” 

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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