Conor Davis story could have so easily been the same as so many promising Irish talents trying to find their way in the English game, struggling for game time, affection and any real sense of belonging in a footballing world dominated by big money signings and cut-throat ruthlessness at underage level, the former Templeogue man could sense his time at Championship club Reading was nearing its conclusion.
Faced with an option of dropping down the English leagues, or perhaps out of the game all-together as many Irish youngsters do off the back of heartbreaking rejection by Britain’s elite, Davis took a different path, a path that would not only reignite the striker’s career but also open up a realm of new possibilities outside of football through education.
Arriving at UCD AFC just two-months ago, little was expected of the twenty-year-old, who had the enviable task of attempting to replace the goals of “Students” star-man Georgie Kelly, who had left the First Division league leaders for the glitz and glam of Dundalk FC. However, five games and six goals later, Davis impact for Collie O’Neill’s side has been nothing short of remarkable, helping fire “College” not only to the league title but a place in the final four of the FAI Daily Mail Cup.
While outsiders looking in may automatically view a move from Reading to the League of Ireland First Division as a step down, Davis revealed he rates the standard of facilities at his new club greater than what was available to him during his time in England when speaking to Kieran Burke & Jonathan Brier on Series 2-Episode 25 of Between the Stripes LOI podcast last night.
“The facilities are top class, the facilities at UCD are better than was at reading, the pitch is like a carpet it’s great to play on and aside from the facilities I think the fact we are a really close-knit group has helped a lot, it’s all just come together really nicely.”
With UCD now promoted to the top-flight for next season all eyes will be on how the former Reading forward takes to life in the Premier Division. However, we may have already had the answer to that had Shamrock Rovers taken a punt on the youngster when he trialed with the Tallaght club back in February. Again, speaking to Between the Stripes LOI podcast, Davis said:
“It was disappointing but for whatever reason it just didn’t work out.”
Davis will be eager to show Premier Division followers exactly what he can do when UCD travel to Oriel Park in the FAI Cup semi-finals next month. However, before that the second-tier champions will look to finish their season in style with a win over promotion hopefuls Longford Town at the City Calling Stadium on Saturday.
To hear Conor’s interview in full on Series 2-Episode 25 of Between the Stripes LOI podcast simply use the SoundCloud player below or alternatively find the show on Itunes, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Google podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify, Podcast Addict or any other major podcast provider.