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Sean O'Mahony, in action for UCC against Conor Meade, Cobh Wanderers. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Sean O'Mahony, in action for UCC against Conor Meade, Cobh Wanderers. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
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Sean’s City deal seals UCC links with the Cross

SEAN O’MAHONY’S transfer from UCC to Cork City FC represents another pivotal step in the relationship between the university and the football club.

For the 22-year-old centre back, it is a step forward in his career, but it is also the latest in a long line of transfers between club and college.

Following in the footsteps of Cork City’s John Caulfield, as well as former City starlets, Michael McSweeney and Josh O’Shea, Mahony is another who has swapped the university for the League of Ireland club.

Since Caulfield left UCC in 2013, City have risen to prominence, based in part on a golden era for UCC soccer.

That partnership has been echoed by a former UCC president, who said that the “‘the skull and crossbones and the Rebel Army are marrying”, following a renewed partnership in November, 2016.

A recipient of the Roy Keane Sports Scholarship, Sean O’Mahoney signed for UCC following a successful stint at Cobh Ramblers. Flirting between Cobh’s U19 side and the senior team, O’Mahony impressed in Cobh’s 2013 Enda McGuill Cup victory, as well as making ten senior appearances in the League of Ireland First Division.

Since signing for UCC, in 2014, Mahoney has been a rock in the heart of Noel Healy’s side, with stellar performances in UCC’s historic 2015 season, when they claimed the Munster Senior League title, as well as the Collingwood Cup. They also reached the quarter-finals of the EA Sports Cup.

In 2016, the centre back was listed as a ‘Player to Watch’ for the Collingwood Cup, and UCC claimed the Farqar Cup.

Finishing out the season, he was one of the Munster Senior League players of the year.

In his final year at the college, O’Mahony was key in UCC’s double-winning season. O’Mahony lifted the Collingwood Cup and the Munster Senior League title, while also reaching the CUFL league final and Donie Forde Cup semi-finals.

A strong, versatile centre back, who can command the area, O’Mahony’s raw talents were refined under former Cork City defender turned UCC manager, Noel Healy. And, for the Irish Colleges and University’s team, he lined out against Wales and France.

Meanwhile, Cork City look set to complete a permanent move for defender, Ryan Delaney, this week, after manager, John Caulfield, said the deal was “close”. He has also identified a replacement for the departing forward, Seanie Maguire.

Delaney — a doubt for runaway league leaders City’s return to Premier Division action this weekend, as they host Limerick, at Turner’s Cross, on Friday night — is on the verge of sealing his switch from Nigel Clough’s Championship side, Burton Albion.

Delaney will be most welcome on Leeside. While City have opened up a yawning gap at the top of the league, the draw for the Europa League, on Monday, will signal the club’s busiest spell of the season.

It comes as Cork prepare to get used to life without prize asset, Maguire, soon to leave for Preston, while cross-channel clubs continue to hawk over other standout stars, with left-back, Kevin O’Connor, also seemingly destined for Preston.

“With Ryan, it’s close. I would hope that, in the next few days, it would be resolved,” said Caulfield. “I know I have been saying that for a while, but, from our side, we can’t do any more. Ultimately, he’s a Burton player; we’d like to keep him, but we are not controlling the situation.

“The player himself is keen to stay here, as well.

“There’s ongoing stuff there, with Kevin. We don’t want to lose anyone, but you have a situation, when you are challenging near the top and being successful, that you attract a lot of outside interest. That has been the case. We have to get the best possible deal for the club in the best possible circumstances.”