Globetrotting Irish striker joins Polish title contenders

Globetrotting striker Cillian Sheridan has become the first Irish player to join a Polish league side, writes Stephen Barry.

Sheridan, capped three times under Giovanni Trapattoni, has left Cypriot side Omonoia to join Jagiellonia Bialystok, who are in second place in the Ekstraklasa.

The deal was reportedly struck for €250,000 after the club dropped their interest in Blackburn attacker Anthony Stokes, with Sheridan signing a two-and-a-half year contract this afternoon.

The 28-year-old Cavan-native caught the eye of his new club as he scored the winning goal for Omonoia against the Polish side in the Europa League second qualifying round last summer.

He has spent the past four seasons in Nicosia, winning the league and cup double with APOEL in 2014 and 2015. He was the only Irish player to play in the Champions League group stages in 2014, playing against eventual champions Barcelona, PSG and Ajax, before moving to Omonoia in June 2015.

PSG defender David Luiz defends against Apoel FC striker Cillian Sheridan during a Champions League group match in 2014. Photo: SAKIS SAVVIDES/AFP/Getty Images

Sheridan has previously played for Celtic, Kilmarnock and CSKA Sofia, where he won the Bulgarian Cup in 2011.

Scottish defender Ziggy Gordon and Lithuanian international Arvydas Novikovas also joined Jagiellonia in the past month as they bid to close the four-point gap to league leaders Lechia Gdansk.

“I feel like I can breathe,” said Sheridan after completing the transfer.

“It’s been a crazy few days, 24 hours really, trying to get everything sorted and get over here. But now, everything’s done and I’m looking forward to getting started.

“It helps when you’re going abroad to have some familiar faces or even familiar cultures, with Ziggy and, obviously, Ivan (Runje, a former teammate at Omonoia) I know. But even if I didn’t know them, from how I feel so far it’s a very friendly club and I’m sure everyone else will make me feel at home.”

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