Stephen Mallon signs for Rovers

Sligo Rovers are delighted to announce the signing of winger Stephen Mallon on an 18 month deal. The Belfast native joins the Bit O’Red after a spell at local side Cliftonville and has signed a pre-contract to join up with Rovers on July 1 subject to international transfer clearance. 

The former Republic of Ireland underage international, who plays on either wing or as a full back, began his career at Sheffield United after spells with schoolboy sides Donegal Celtic and Olliver Plunkett’s. The 25-year-old then spent some time in the Australian A League before moving on to Derry City for a loan spell. 

In 2021, Mallon left the Blades to join Bohs where he spent two seasons before moving back home to Solitude and to Cliftonville where he recently won the Irish Cup. 

The 25-year-old was introduced to Sligo Rovers supporters at half-time during the home game against Drogheda United and speaking earlier today, said he is looking forward to getting going with the Bit O’Red.  

 “I knew from speaking to John that Sligo is where I want to be. The way he spoke about the club, his plans. I just really wanted to sign once he had filled me in as it really suits me”, he said.

Having previously played at the Showgrounds for both Derry and Bohs, Mallon knows what to expect from a passionate Rovers following. Although strangely enough, his first taste of the venue was an FAI Cup quarter-final tie in November 2020 during the Covid 19 pandemic. A fixture, against Derry, which was played behind closed doors.  

“It was in the cup where there were no fans allowed during COVID so it was surreal”, he recalls.  

“It’s a great stadium and I played there again in front of supporters for Bohs and saw what the atmosphere was like. It’s one of the best stadiums in the country so I’m really looking forward to getting out there.

Mallon kept a keen eye on what’s going on south of the border during his time back home in Belfast. The wide man has seen enough to convince him Rovers are good enough to finish the season strongly. 

“I know what to expect from the opposition. You know what to expect when the likes of a Shamrock Rovers or a Bohs come up here. A lot of players in this league have stayed here and gone from team to team so I’ll have already played against a lot of the players in teams we’ll face. 

“I’ve always kept an eye on the league and it’s wide open. We’re eighth at the moment but we’re not far off fourth and last week’s win over Shels was massive. We’re only half way through the season and everything is still there to play for.”   

Speaking about his new signing, Rovers boss John Russell says Mallon is a player who will fit in well to the way the team already plays.

“I’m delighted he’s signed. I’ve been tracking Stephen’s progress for a long time now and he is someone I have always admired. 

“He has real pace and power and I feel he will fit in very well to our system and our way of play. 

“We want players who can make a real difference from dangerous positions in the final third. Stephen is someone who can take the game to opposition defenders and excite supporters. Our staff and squad are all looking forward to getting to work with him.” 

David Goulden