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Shamrock Rovers sign UCD pair...
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Shamrock Rovers sign UCD pair Gary O'Neill and Neil Farrugia

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

18:11 26 Jun 2019

Shamrock Rovers have confirmed two new signings with midfielder Gary O'Neill and winger Neil Farrugia joining the Tallaght club from UCD.

UCD skipper O'Neill (24) was crucial to the club winning promotion as First Division champions last season, scoring nine goals, while he also played in their Europa League campaign in 2015.

Farrugia (19), who was invited to train with the elite youngsters at Manchester City earlier in the year, has scored twice in 26 starts and 8 sub appearances in two-and-a-half seasons with the Students.

"We've been speaking to Gary for quite some time and we're delighted to get him in," Rovers head coach Stephen Bradley revealed on Wednesday. "He fits how we play, he's a good age and he has some really good attributes."

"We believe that we can improve him and we're looking forward to seeing him playing for the club."

Bradley hopes new signings can help Shamrock Rovers title challenge

The Hoops will be hoping to push Dundalk all the way in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division title race this season and currently lie in second place and just five points behind the champions.

Bradley believes that the two new signings could play a big part in their title push in the second half of the season.

"I said from day one that we have goals from all over the pitch in this team and Neil and Gary will just add to that," Bradley added.

"They've shown that they can create and score goals and I'm sure they'll bring that to us.

"Both of them, once we sat down with them and gave them our plan of where we see them here, they were very keen to get it done. It was great that both were very interested and wanted to get it done quickly and thankfully we did."

Farrugia qualifies to play for France, Spain, and Malta but has gone on the record to say that he only wants to play for Ireland and he scored his first goal for the under-21s in a European qualifier against Luxembourg at Tallaght Stadium in March.

Bradley feels that he could bring a new dynamic to his team.

"Neil is very athletic, quick and direct. He's different to what we have currently in the squad and a player we've liked for quite some time.

"We've known about other interest in him but we're delighted that he sees his football at Shamrock Rovers. He's only young, he's done well so far and there's still so much more to come from him. Hopefully, we can see that here at this club."

Farrugia and O'Neill hope to show ambition at Shamrock Rovers

O'Neill admits that he maybe should have considered making his departure from Belfield sooner.

"Yeah I think it was the perfect move [to Rovers] for me at the perfect time," said O'Neill.

"I was coming to the end at UCD, maybe I overstayed a year, there’s always the question of when you should leave UCD, but I’ve no regrets with that, now it’s time for me to prove myself now.

"I’m out of my comfort zone now and I’m looking forward to being tested every week."

Farrugia has been eager to make the step up to playing full-time professional football and in Europe while he is also hoping that he can help the club win trophies.

"Rovers is a club that has one of the greatest histories in Ireland, and the twice I’ve played here in Tallaght," said Farrugia.

"I’ve just thought that the atmosphere has been electric and it’s somewhere I wanted to be playing every week, week in week out, in front of a crowd this big.

"I think Rovers overall are a really good team. I wanted to join a club that had ambition to win cups and trophies so that’s why I signed."

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