UCD AFC announced three new signings ahead of the new season, Jason Byrne, Brian Shorthall and Cathal Brady all joining the club. Georgie Kelly has also signed for the first team having joined our under 19 side in August from Derry City, while Josh Collins has also made the step up from our under 19s. Collie O’Neill has also revealed that Gary O’Neill will be his new captain ahead of the new season.
Having missed out on promotion last season in the playoffs against Finn Harps, Collie O’Neill has managed to retain the majority of his young squad from last season, particularly with Ryan Swan and Dylan Watts both signing new two year deals last July, while also looking to add some more experience to it. With negotiations still on-going with some new and existing players, Collie is hoping to add further to his squad over the coming days.
“I’m really excited with the new signings, for the coming season we’ll have a good blend of youth and experience”
League of Ireland legend Jason Byrne joins the club from Bohemian FC, and he has set his sights on breaking the League of Ireland goal scoring record as well as helping the club back to the Premier Division. Speaking after joining the club, Jason is looking forward to the season ahead and hoping it can be successful season for the club and on a personal front.
“That’s the objective (breaking the record), but if I can get the goals and we can get promoted back to the Premier Division then that would be fantastic.”
Collie O’Neill is delighted with his new signing and is hoping that he will be able to strike a great partnership with Ryan Swan.
“Jason impressed me when I met him before Christmas, the whole conversation was about football, he just loves his football and loves to score goals. We almost signed him during the summer transfer last season but for one reason or another we just couldn’t complete the transfer. He has great presence in the dressing room, he’s a top quality pro and I’m drooling with the thoughts with maybe seeing a sorcerer and the apprentice partnership in Byrne and Swan.”
Cathal Brady has joined Collie’s squad for the new season and Collie is delighted to finally get his man after trying to sign him for the last 10 years.
“In all of the previous clubs I’ve been with we’ve tried to sign Cathal so after 10 years of trying to sign him I’m delighted to finally have him on board, because of his great attacking qualities he is one of those players that would always occupy some of my pre match talks when he was playing against us.”
Speaking after completing his move to the club, Cathal is delighted to have joined the club and is looking forward to working with Collie.
“I’m delighted to have joined the club, and delighted to be working with Collie. I’ve known him for a few years now, so when I got the call from him it was an easy decision to make.”
Brian Shorthall has also signed for the club for a second spell after spending last season with Athlone Town. In his previous spell with the club, he played a massive part in winning the First Division in 2009 when he named in the PFAI First Division Team of the Year, and will be hoping for more of the same for the coming season. Speaking after completing his move he is delighted to be back at the club and has great memories of his previous spell.
“It’s great to be back, people will never understand the facilities here and how good it actually is. All throughout my years even after leaving I’ve been praising it to the highest and telling anyone who has the chance to come here, to take advantage of it. It’s a great chance to improve playing, it’s a brilliant surface and then with the strength and conditioning side of it too, it’s a proper professional set up.”
Collie is delighted to have Brian back at the club and is hoping he will help to improve an already impressive defence which conceded only twenty-seven goals last season.
“We had the second best defensive record in the division last year but I still think there is room for more improvement. In Brian we have signed an experienced no-nonsense accomplished defender, he has been with the club before, and he understands how the club operates and has some qualities which the club has missed over the last few years.”
Speaking at the unveiling of our new signings, new captain Gary O’Neill can’t wait to start working with them and is hoping they will help bring success to the club come the end of the season.
“The three lads all bring a new dimension to us along with a wealth of experience and knowledge, which will be beneficial for everyone at the football club and help us to achieve our goals for the season. After the defeat in the playoffs last season everyone is hungrier than ever to go one further this season. We will all pull together and work hard from day one to achieve what we deserve.”
UCDAFC press service. (ed)