FORMER Cork City, Limerick and Galway United midfielder David O’Leary is making a return to League Of Ireland football for the 2021 League Of Ireland First Division campaign with Cobh Ramblers.
Most recently at Avondale United in the Munster Senior League, where he won the FAI Intermediate Cup in 2019, O'Leary will bring significant experience to Stuart Ashton’s side.
O’Leary spent four seasons with Limerick FC, who he helped guide to the First Division title in 2012. He would make 28 appearances for Limerick the following campaign in the Premier Division, scoring four times, including the winner against Cork City at Turner's Cross in May 2013.
O’Leary went on to join City in 2014, as the Rebel Army finished runners-up in the Premier Division. He made 29 Premier Division appearances for Galway United in 2015, before playing spells in the First Division with Waterford and Shelbourne.
“When Stuart Ashton got onto me a few weeks back, it was nice knowing that there would be football ahead. I’ve played at League of Ireland level before so it’s good to get back to it," described O'Leary.
“I started off as a box to box midfielder but I’ve played a bit more of a deeper role now. Whatever Stu asks me to do I’m happy to do that.
"The club has been on the border of getting to play-offs in recent years and if I can contribute to going that one step further then it will be a good year.”
Meanwhile, Jake Hegarty and James McCarthy join Ramblers from Munster Senior League side Midleton.
McCarthy has spent the past number of campaigns with Midleton and captained their side in the most recent Munster Senior League campaign, which saw them lead the table prior to its disruption due to Covid-19.
The 26-year-old was a key player in their 2017/18 MSL title victory and has also played a vital role in Midleton's FAI Intermediate Cup runs in recent years.
“It’s great to be here,” said McCarthy.
“The overall team target is the play-offs and promotion. Personally, I want to be up there putting myself in contention to start and play every week, and show that I’m able for this level.
"I’ve been training a few weeks now and I’ve definitely noticed the intensity in training. Every session, every drill you have to be on it every night.
“When I first saw the fixture list, obviously the derby with Cork stood out. There won’t be supporters allowed in for a while sadly and I can only imagine what it would be like with fans at the games.
"St Colman’s would be rocking and hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later that we get to see that.”