Noel Browne Hutchinson (left) and Baba with the Waterford shirts.
Shrewd business

Waterford snap up ex-Ireland underage internationals Dessie Hutchinson and Noe Baba

The pair could prove astute mid-season signings by the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division high-flyers.

WATERFORD FOOTBALL CLUB have announced a double swoop after capturing the signatures of Dessie Hutchinson and Noe Baba.

The SSE Airtricity League side, who sit third in the Premier Division table after an excellent first half to the season, were expected to bolster their squad during the break and they have done just that.

21-year-old Hutchinson, a Waterford native and former Ireland U19 international, joins from Brighton & Hove Albion, where he spent three years and made his first-team debut in an EFL Cup game against Bournemouth last September.

“I’m delighted to join the club and I’m really looking forward to getting going,” the defensive midfielder said. “I want to enjoy my football and this is a great fit for me so I decided to stay in Waterford rather than go back across the water.

“It’s my hometown club and to get the opportunity to play for Waterford FC is brilliant. The way Alan [Reynolds] has the team playing suits my style too so I’m delighted to join.

“It’s a much different club than the one that was here when I moved to Brighton and I’ve been impressed so far. I’ve been in around the squad and I’ve seen the quality of the players that are at the club and I’m really excited to be involved. Players like Paul Keegan and Noel Hunt have been there and done; their experience is invaluable and it’ll be a big help to me.

When you look at the facilities too, they’re excellent and better than a lot of what you’d see down the leagues in England.

“The club is really going places and it’ll be great for my parents, my family and my girlfriend to be able to see the games now too. My mother and father used to come to every match when I was younger so it’ll be great to have them watching me again now for my hometown club. I can’t wait to get started.”

Soccer - Pre Season Friendly - Solihull Moors v Birmingham City - The Autotech Stadium EMPICS Sport Baba in action for Birmingham City in a pre-season friendly. EMPICS Sport

Baba came through the ranks at Castlebar Celtic and joined Fulham in 2013 after interest from several clubs across the water.

The Cameroon-born defender, who is capped at U21 level for Ireland, has since had spells with Birmingham City and Macclesfield Town, but the 21-year-old is hoping to kick-start his career at the RSC.

“I’m very happy to join the club and get things sorted,” Baba said. “I’ve been down around the squad and it feels like it’s a good fit for me.

“With the ground and the great training facilities, it was an easy decision. Add in the quality of the players that are in the squad and the work being done in training, I’m not at all surprised that the club is 3rd in the league at the moment.

“The good season the club is having is reflected in the people around the club and I’ve enjoyed being here so far. I’m looking forward to getting on the pitch now and trying to keep the club moving in the right direction.”

Alan Reynolds Bryan Keane / INPHO Alan Reynolds. Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

Waterford manager Alan Reynolds added: “It’s great to get both Dessie and Noe signed up as we look forward to getting back into action after the mid-season break. We’ve made no secret that we’re looking to strengthen the side and both players are good additions to the squad. They’re both young players who’ll be looking to make an impact and that’s what I’m looking for.

“We want to bring the right kind of players to the club; Dessie is a local lad and it’s great to have him at his hometown club. Noe is a versatile player and he’ll offer us options as we look to continue our good season.”

Waterford face Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds this Saturday evening, but the new arrivals won’t be eligible to play until 1 July, pending international clearance.

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