LEESIDE soccer player Denzil Fernandes has joined Shelbourne FC as he aims to score the goals required to catapult the Dublin-based team into the Premier League next season.
The former Cork City Youths player joins Shels following a very successful stint with Cobh Ramblers.
The Drimoleague native is looking forward to joining the illustrious club.
“I’m ecstatic to be joining Shelbourne. They are a top club that possess a rich history. I can’t wait to get going.
“This is a huge opportunity for me. I am ready to grasp it and do my best,” revealed the pacey winger.
He enjoyed a very productive period with Cobh Ramblers under former boss Stephen Henderson, and impressed Shels, who Henderson is now involved with, due to his consistent performances in the league over the last season-and-a-half.
His strong displays against his new team caught the attention of their manager Ian Morris.
“Their manager Ian Morris watched me a few times this season and obviously the two games when we played each other when I was with Cobh. He was impressed with how I played and he gave me a call after the mid-season break.
“We had a comprehensive chat about the club and their ambitions moving forward. I liked what he had to say.
“I am glad he has faith in me and I hope to repay him back. I will give it my best.”
Shelbourne are currently at the summit of the First Division. They hold a comfortable lead over their nearest challengers Drogheda United as they seek to return to the Premier League.
Denzil is hopeful he can help propel them to automatic promotion.
“Shelbourne want to be back in the Premier Division. I’m hoping I can get a run of games and score the goals and help the team over the finishing line.
“It would be great to finish the season with a championship medal in my pocket.”
Denzil had a very encouraging conversation with Shelbourne manager Ian Morris before he agreed to join the Drumcondra-based side.
The west Cork soccer player was also very impressed with their facilities as he seeks to keep developing as a player.
“I was delighted with the set-up. They’re very professional in every way. They have great equipment which aides training and the Tolka Park pitch I believe is one of the best in Ireland. It is immaculate. Ian’s a really good person and manager. He has a great vision for the club.”
Shelbourne are one of the most successful and famous clubs in the Irish League. At the turn of this century they were capturing league titles and competing on a regular basis in European competitions. Denzil has heard all about their European adventures.
“I’ve heard about their exploits in Europe many years ago and it was impressive how much they have achieved.
“They’re determined to make Tolka Park great again with the loyal fan base that they have. I was very impressed because I would love to play in Europe one day. This is a great opportunity to push myself and the club further.”
He will now have to move to Dublin to pursue his soccer ambitions.
Shelbourne were recently drawn against their city rivals Bohemians in a much-anticipated cup tie. He can’t wait to make his debut for Shels.
“I’m raring to go and prove myself. I will work hard to get a place in the team and hopefully get a run in the cup as well. My aim is to train hard and make a good contribution between now and the end of the season. I will have to move to Dublin. That is being sorted at this very moment. It is a very exciting time for me. I’m eager to start training and get used to the pace that they play at.”
The former Cobh Ramblers player is under no illusions he will have to be patient before he makes their starting 11 given their impressive season to date.
“I will have to impress in training. They have a lot of talented players but I believe in my own ability that I’ll get a place in the squad.”
Denzil really enjoyed his time with Cobh Ramblers. He admits it was a wrench to leave the first division side, but the opportunity to join the league leaders was too good to turn down: “It was tough. I was very comfortable with the lads. Moving to another team is not easy, but that’s the way it is. It wasn’t an ideal situation with the manager leaving and all that, but I wish them all the best for the rest of the season.”
The 21-year-old winger is renowned for his devastating pace, link up play and trickery; he has always been regarded as a huge prospect.
Denzil, who previously played for Drinagh Rangers, Bandon AFC, College Corinthians, Cork City Youths and Cobh Ramblers, is thrilled his soccer career continues to progress.
“My career is going upwards because I’ve worked so hard these past few months. It is now starting to pay off. This move is the start of a very big opportunity. I am as determined, committed and focused as ever.”
He has very specific goals he hopes to achieve in the coming months.
“My short term goals are to get into the team and win the first division title. Then we can focus on the Premier Division next season.”