New Cork City signing Kieran Sadlier has revealed striker Seanie Maguire played a crucial role in his decision to move to Turner’s Cross.
Sadlier was unveiled by City as their marquee summer signing in Cork yesterday, moving from Sligo Rovers after agreeing a deal until the end of the 2018 season, with the option of a further year.
The English-born former Irish Under-21 international is close friends with City striker Maguire — the pair played together as youngsters at West Ham — who will leave the club at the end of the month for a move to the English Championship with Preston.
Maguire spoke highly of the Leesiders, which proved a huge selling point for Sadlier.
“I spoke to Seanie a lot. He’s one of my best friends, from when I was with West Ham, he was my room-mate,” said Sadlier. “The way he talks about Cork, it was a big factor in me coming.”
As with his friend Maguire, Sadlier’s career stalled at West Ham but, after spells at St Mirren, Halifax, and Peterborough, it has been revived in the League of Ireland.
Sadlier signed for Sligo Rovers in 2016, excelling on the Irish stage, with 10 goals from midfield for the Bit O’Red in 2016, while he has already scored eight times this season.
City boss John Caulfield knows exactly what his new signing can do, having seen it at close hand. Sadlier scored in each of Sligo’s games against the Leesiders this year despite being on the losing side, while he also scored in a win for Sligo at Turner’s Cross last season.
Caulfield has shown an eye in the past for signing players who can adapt and switch to his needs — just look at Conor McCormack’s deployment at centre-back, centre-midfield, or right-back, or Jimmy Keohane’s similar adaptability — and Sadlier is another who will take on whatever role is required.
“Personally, I used to say I was a left winger, or a right winger, but I’ve played in the number 10, I’ve played up front, I’ve played in the middle. Anywhere in attack really... and I’ve even played left-back, sometimes. Left wing is my favourite, but I can mix it up.”
That versatility, and attitude, will be music to the ears of the City boss. City are 12 points clear in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division, and are heavy favourites to advance to the Europa League second qualifying round, as they lead Levadia Tallinn 2-0 going into Thursday’s second leg at Turner’s Cross.
Still, Caulfield is taking nothing for granted as he looks towards a hectic second half of the season, with European and cup engagements piled in with a backlog of league games.
There’s plenty of games to be won yet, and Maguire exits at the end of the month, along with rock-solid left-back Kevin O’Connor, also destined for Preston. Sadlier’s signing, then, was a welcome move in the other direction.
“We’re delighted,” said Caulfield. “We’ve done a lot of work trying to get someone we feel who will enhance the squad. Obviously, with the departures of the two lads, we wanted to make sure we got someone that can keep the momentum going.
“Kieran’s been in our league the last couple of years and been a top player for Sligo. He creates a lot of chances and scores a lot of goals. He’s versatile, so we’re looking at different options. If we can get through Thursday’s game, he’s available after that for Europe, as well.
“Critically, we’re getting a player who knows our league, but we feel will blend with the players we have. You must have the right people coming in and joining the group. and we feel he’s that kind of guy.”
A figure in the region of €40,000 was mooted for the transfer but the value of the deal remains undisclosed. While relishing the move to the league leaders, Sadlier leaves the Showgrounds with a heavy heart, playing his last game in Sunday’s crucial 1-0 win over Shamrock Rovers.
“I am sad to leave Sligo Rovers. Sligo gave me a chance, when I really needed to play football after coming here from England.
“I made my debut against Shamrock Rovers a year-and-a-half ago. I got sent off and it’s ironic that my last game was against them on Sunday.
“I feel I’ve come full circle and it was special to leave on such a note.”
Ultimately, Sadlier’s career had to come first.
“It’s a football decision and I’m here in Cork to win games and win leagues,” he said yesterday. “I’m at a point in my career when I want to win trophies and be successful. When I sat down and thought about the interest in me from other clubs, I felt I had to come to this decision.”
Sligo boss Gerard Lyttle said: “Kieran is like a lot of young footballers in the country. They leave England and many presume they will go lower after coming to Ireland. It can be easy to feel sorry for themselves. The best players turn it around and he worked hard and found some of the best of himself.”
Meanwhile, St Patrick’s Athletic will today unveil new signings Owen Garvan and Killian Brennan as they bolster their squad for the fight against relegation. Former Home Farm youth Garvan joins the Saints, having spent more than a decade playing in England with the likes of Ipswich and Colchester.
Brennan returns to the Saints after spending the early part of the season at Drogheda. Brennan won the title at St Pat’s in 2013 and the FAI Cup in 2014.
“At the meeting, the FAI requested that the club clarify its position, following comments and a statement made by the club chairman last week,” said an FAI statement.
“A number of key items were discussed during the meeting, including the commitments the club entered into during the Independent Club Licensing process. The FAI will continue to monitor the situation and discussions are ongoing between the association and club representatives.”
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