Ryan O'Reilly aims to bolster Cliftonville's defence.

New horizons for Cavan soccer stars

Two Cavan footballers last week departed Fermanagh's Ballinamallard Football Club for new challenges.

Ryan O'Reilly from Crosserlough signed a contract with Cliftonville, while Sean McEvoy is committed to Bray Wanderers for the remainder of this most interrupted of seasons.

“There’s a great bunch of players already here and a very good defence but I’m hoping I can come in and add to that and hopefully help us all improve even more," Ryan told the Cliftonville website.

“When Paddy (McLaughlin) and a Club like Cliftonville comes in for you, you don’t need it to be sold to you – I already know who Cliftonville are and what they’re about and I’m really looking forward to being a part of it.”

The 25 year old will wear the number 5 shirt, is also happy to be linking up with some familiar faces, including fellow Cavan man Chris Curran. The Swanlinbar player has become a firm fan favourite at Solitude and scored a stunning spot kick when Monday's Irish Cup semi-final with Glentoran went to penalties. Sadly their East Belfast rivals progressed to the final.

Meanwhile Sean McEvoy has signed an amateur contract which takes him up to the end of the season in late October, and then will be a position to weigh up his options. Any future contract would be professional.

For a player of his calibre it would be natural for English clubs to show interest, however the soccer world was not immune from Covid-19. It's unlikely a contract would be forthcoming from across the sea until pay-cuts to existing squad members are restored and normal travel arrangements resume.

Having just turned 18 in June, the Virginia native is going into sixth year and looking ahead to his Leaving Cert. Sean believes that life with the Wicklow club should make his school-sports balance a little easier.

A “centre mid at heart” he's anticipating regular first team action for the final 16 matches of the season. His home debut was friendly against Waterford on Friday, which they won 1-0. He reportedly played well having come on for the second half.

“They want me for centre midfield for a bit of legs in there,” he says of the Airtricty Division 1 club's expectations of him.

Sean was part of the Republic of Ireland U17 team who played in the 2019 Euros and he's eager to repeat that experience.

“Maybe up North I was a bit closed off from the international world,” he surmises, but now believes that playing regularly in a senior club on Dublin's doorstep - “in the heart of soccer” - will help stay in the minds of the international management.

“I'm with the U19s this year and this is a Euros year so I will be pushing for that,” he enthuses. “Hopefully going to Bray will help push my chances even more for the international squad.”

More from this Topic