Leesider O’Connell leaves Celtic for League One’s Bury

Leesider O’Connell leaves Celtic for League One’s Bury
Luis Suarez closes down Eoghan O'Connell. Picture: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

CORK defender Eoghan O’Connell has signed a three-year deal with League One side Bury.

The promising Leesider has left Celtic in a bid to get regular game time after a six-year stint in Glasgow.

The 21-year-old made 13 appearances in all competitions for the senior side and featured enough in the early stages of Brendan Rodgers’ regime to suggest he could make a full breakthrough for the Hoops.

Indeed he came on as a sub in the Champions League when the Bhoys were hammered 7-0 by Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Yet even though Rodgers tinkered with his line-ups throughout across an outstanding campaign when Celtic went unbeaten in the league and landed their first treble since 2001, O’Connell found game-time hard to come by.

He had a spell with Walsall in the second half of last season and they were keen to recruit the Rebel on a permanent basis before he opted for Bury, where Cork’s Brian Barry-Murphy played from 2004 to 2010.

Dundalk's Daryl Horgan is tackled by Eoghan O'Connell. Picture: INPHO/Ciaran Culligan
Dundalk's Daryl Horgan is tackled by Eoghan O'Connell. Picture: INPHO/Ciaran Culligan

O’Connell had a stint with Cork City in 2016, excelling in a Presidents Cup final victory over Dundalk, but a loan deal at Oldham was cut short due to injury. His older brother Andy previously played with Cork City as well, while father Damien enjoyed a fruitful career in local soccer.

O’Connell, who turns 22 in August, first played for Celtic in the league against Ross County in 2014. His first cousin is Munster and Ireland rugby legend Paul O’Connell.

Eoghan O'Connell after scoring a cracker against Leicester City at Celtic Park. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Eoghan O'Connell after scoring a cracker against Leicester City at Celtic Park. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, there is a strong Cork contingent training with the Irish squad ahead of Sunday’s vital World Cup qualifier against Austria at the Aviva, 5pm.

John Egan, Conor Hourihane, Kevin Long and Alan Browne all got game time in recent friendlies against Mexico and Uraguay, though David Meyler is currently recovering from injury.

It’s unlikely any of the Corkonians will make the starting 11 against Austria.

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