WHEN St Patrick’s Athletic make the trip to Turner’s Cross during the 2020 League of Ireland campaign, there will be a very familiar name to Cork City fans on the opposing team sheet.
Carrigaline’s Shane Griffin, a man who won the Premier Division and FAI Cup double in 2017 with the Rebel Army, has moved up to Dublin for the next chapter of his footballing journey.
It wasn’t long after he joined up with Cork before he made the full back starting slot his own, making over 80 appearances in total for the Rebel Army.
“It is a great club and I loved every minute of it there and winning the double in the first year was great,” said Griffin reflecting back on his time at City. "It is a great place to play and it is my hometown, so it is an extra bit special when you play there.
“So I look back on that with fond memories.”
Griffin also has experience of playing in England under his belt following a spell with Reading.
A number of years were spent there, having joined Reading from Carrigaline United.
On what his new side, Pats, are seeking to target for the 2020 campaign, Griffin is eager for the campaign to start and try to finish near the top of the table.
The ultimate goal for Pats will be to try and bridge the gap that is there between Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers to the rest over the coming years.
“You have to aim for that. We know how good the top two were last year and there was a bit of a gap.
“You have to aim for that and when you see the group of players that are coming together here (at Pats), it is definitely exciting and everyone seems hungry and wants to do well.
“So I am sure everyone will be pulling in the right direction to try and get up into the top two.
“It is a new challenge and I can’t wait to get started. There is a good group of players at Pats and good coaching staff.
“Speaking to Stephen (O’Donnell) he is ambitious.”
Griffin and his new boss at Pats indeed had some great battles on the opposing side of things in what was an epic rivalry between Cork City and Dundalk.
Pats boss, O’Donnell feels that Griffin has the ability to be a key player in what Pat’s are trying to achieve in 2020.
“Shane is someone I would have come up against on the pitch from my time with Dundalk and I’ve always thought very highly of him.
“ He always impressed me as a great athlete when I played against him so we are thrilled to get a player of his calibre in to the club.
“He has achieved a lot in the game to date and is hungry and ambitious to achieve more and that’s what we want at the club.”
Speaking of Griffin’s departure, City boss Neale Fenn commented: “Shane has obviously had a very successful time with the club and been a big part of the success that the club has had in recent years.
“Everyone at the club would like to thank him for the contribution he has made to Cork City FC and wish him the very best of luck for the future.”
Griffin featured for St Pats during their pre-season camp down on Leeside at Fota Island resort, which included a convincing win over Cobh Ramblers.
Indeed Griffin will hope to play a key role in what Pat’s hope will be a big 2020.
The Saints kick off the Premier Division campaign with a Valentines night date at home against Waterford.
The season will still be in it’s early stages when Griffin lines out against his former side, as Pat’s play host to Cork City on the 6th of March.
Griffin had a number of memorable days to cherish while lining out for the Rebel Army.
Now the mission for the 25 year old will be to try and help The Saints to challenge towards the top of the Premier Division table and competing for the domestic cups.
Meanwhile, Cork City manager Neale Fenn is keen to add more loan signings in the wake of the arrival of Kyron Stabana.
Right-back Stabana was signed on loan from AFC Wimbledon earlier this week and will be with City for the first half of the season and Fenn is hoping that more will follow.
Kenya U23 international midfielder Henry Ochieng, who was at Leyton Orient during Fenn’s time as assistant manager there and was most recently with Wingate & Finchley, has been on trial and is expected to sign soon.
Another potential arrival is attacker Reyon Dillon, who started off at Crystal Palace and has played for Sutton United and Corinthian Casuals.
“We are hoping to get another two or three loan deals over the line in the next couple of days,” Fenn said, “so hopefully we will have more news on that front this week. We are hoping to add one or two more to that as well before the start of the season.”
City begin their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division campaign at home to Shelbourne at Turner’s Cross on February 14.
Next weekend, there is a clash against Fenn’s old side Longford Town at Turner’s Cross on Saturday, February 8 before a Munster Senior Cup meeting with Mayfield United the following day.