Keane and Russell commit to Bit o'Red for 2015
Sligo Rovers are delighted to confirm that two more of this year’s squad have signed up for 2015 with Alan Keane and John Russell agreeing new deals.
They join Gavin Peers, David Cawley, Raffaele Cretaro, Ruairi Keating, Regan Donelon, Gary Boylan and Jake Dykes who are already signed along with new additions Kevin Devaney, Dinny Corcoran, Steven Beattie and Keith Ward as Owen Heary’s squad begins to take shape.
On their signing Owen Heary said: “I am absolutely delighted to secure both their services for this year. They are two very talented players and also very hungry players.
“I think it will be a big year for both of them. We are bringing younger players through and it will be great to have experienced players like Alan and John alongside them.
“They have shown that they want to put Sligo Rovers first as they could have gone elsewhere and maybe got more money but they have bought into what we are trying to do here.
“It is great to have players of their experience here. John Russell does great work with his coaching job in the region to help bring through young kids and it is great to have someone like that at the club.
“I think it is massive to have two players who are from Connacht that have been here for many years and know what the club is all about.
“But the most important thing is that they have bought into what I want to do here and the ethos I want to have at the club which is about bringing players through but also most importantly winning trophies.
“I have seen that they have that hunger in their eyes to be back up at the top of the league.”
Alan Keane will be entering his seventh season with the Bit o’Red having signed from Galway United in 2009.
In his time at the club he has won every honour available in the SSE Airtricity League, FAI Cup (three times), the EA Sports Cup and most recently the Setanta Sports Cup.
A regular in the team throughout his time at the Showgrounds he has amassed 228 appearances while scoring 22 times.
Injury ended the right-back’s season early in 2014 but he still managed 26 appearances with an impressive four goals.
Those goals included two highly important strikes in European competition. His goal just before half-time in the second leg against FK Banga broke the deadlock in the tie and set Rovers on the way to a memorable 4-0 win.
He then again scored the first goal in the away game against Norwegian giants Rosenborg which set up a historic 2-1 victory.
Keane said: “I am really happy to have signed and I am looking forward to what I think will be another successful season for the club. It will be my seventh year and the club so I know the ins and outs of the place. Next year will be a new era for the club and I have been very impressed with Owen Heary since he came in, it’s great to feel wanted. I am buzzing to get going for next year, Owen is a great manager.
“Last year was disappointing for us to finish fifth but we will be looking to put things right next year. I played nearly 30 games myself but I missed time with injury which was frustrating. It was the first time I have had an injury since 2012. It was hard to be on the sidelines when the team isn’t doing well as you want to be out there. But next year we will have a point to prove and will be looking to challenge on all fronts.
“We have brought in some new players who are coming to a big club for the first time like I did in 2009 and I went on to be successful. They are all good players and coming to a big club and being full-time will benefit their game. I am hoping we will all pull together and be successful. The new signings are the same and that’s the reason they came to the club.
“I believe we can challenge for the league next year. The manager is ambitious and he knows what it takes to win the league. If we have the right balance of players in the squad I have no doubt we can. If you look at Dundalk they went from nearly being relegated in 2012 to winning it this year without having many players who had done so before.
“We have a good mix of young hungry players and players who have won the league before. You can see with Owen he knows his ambitions and he doesn’t want to settle for being a mid-table team. You can see the ambition in him and I wouldn’t have signed if that ambition wasn’t there. We all have to believe that we can be successful, I can’t wait to get going again.”
John Russell returned to the club a year ago after a two year spell with St. Patrick’s Athletic during which he won the league. He had previously played for Rovers in 2010 and 2011 being a part of the squad which won back-to-back FAI Cups and the EA Sports Cup.
He has played 107 times in total with the Bit o’Red and scored 15 goals.
The mid-fielder’s best scoring season was 2014 when he got six with only Danny North getting more league goals this year.
The Galwegian’s tally included some impressive goals at the Showgrounds against Derry City and Bray Wanderers.
On signing the deal he said: “I’m delighted to be signing. And it’s great to have it all done so early. I am looking forward to the new season already. It’s going to be a new era for the club.
“Owen Heary was a winner as a player and now he is a young ambitious manager and I am ambitious myself. I think I will improve as a player working under him. And also on the coaching side of things which I am interested in.
“This year had its ups and downs but I like to focus on the positives. We won a trophy with the Setanta Sports Cup and got through a round in Europe so we had some success. But we have brought in a new manager now and some new players so it’s a fresh start.
“I think realistically the target this year has to be getting into the top three and qualifying for Europe again. Hopefully we could go on a good run and then you never know. It’s a couple of years since the club won the league and it’s about bringing through some young players now.
“I will be fully fit for the start of next year. I injured my ankle towards the end of the year and it was very frustrating but it is part of the game. I have started training again and have been doing rehab so I can’t wait to get back for pre-season.”
Season tickets for the 2015 season are on sale now.
This year the club are offering family season tickets giving families the best possible value. There are four pricing options available, see further details below.
All other prices remain unchanged from 2014 with early bird prices available up until December 24th.
Golden season tickets are again on sale giving fans the option to reserve their seat in the Treacy Avenue stand for every league game.
There is also an added incentive for all second and third level students with discount vouchers for the club shop with every season ticket.
They are available from the Showgrounds and online here: http://www.sligorovers.com/shop/product/2015-adult-season-ticket