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Niall Watson joins on loan for Sligo Rovers as Kerrigan transfers to UCD


Sligo Rovers have completed the signing of Accrington Stanley midfielder Niall Watson on loan until the end of the League of Ireland season, subject to international clearance.

The 19-year-old makes the temporary switch to the Bit O’ Red having featured against us in a friendly for his parent club in The Showgrounds.

He made his debut for Stanley against Exeter 18 months ago and signed his first professional deal last year.

Watson has been part of their pre-season preparations this year and has featured throughout their friendly games.

Liam Buckley said: “It’s important to firm up the squad from our end. Liam Kerrigan is moving on so we have to be mindful of that and replace him.

“Niall came on in the friendly game we had earlier in the month. He’s a young player looking to make an impact.

“He is more likely to get game time here than in Accrington at this point and it suits us to take him in for the next few months. I spoke with John Coleman and it’s a good move for all parties.

“He has been involved with Accrington’s first-team and at a couple of non-league clubs.

“He can play in an attacking role on the left or right, so we’ll give him a chance in training to impress and force a way into the side.

“In terms of other signings, the market is not favourable at this time of year in Ireland but we remain in the hunt.

“We’re exploring things but it has to be a player that is really going to improve us. I won’t sign someone if it isn’t right for us. There’s less than two weeks left we’ll see how things go.”

Niall Watson said: “When I was in Sligo for the friendly I could see what a good club it is so when the gaffer (John Coleman) mentioned their interest I was delighted.

“He told me more about them too so now I’m really excited. I had three loan spells last year and I’m ready to keep playing. There’s still a lot of games to be played in the season in Ireland.

“It’s a great experience for me to move over and become part of a club like Sligo Rovers, I’m really up for it. I can play anywhere across a front three, I probably prefer the left side.

“Whatever the gaffer says I’ll be up for it. I’m looking forward to getting involved straight away and meet everyone on Tuesday.”

Meanwhile. Liam Kerrigan has joined UCD, the club can confirm.

The Rovers Under-17 graduate progressed through the ranks to become a member of the first-team squad.

He started with the Under-17s in 2015 and went on to make 24 appearance for the senior side.

The 19-year-old said: “Like Jack said this has been a very difficult decision to make. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t a Sligo Rovers fan and making my debut and signing my first professional contract last year was a dream come true.

“Thanks to Gerard Lyttle and Kevin Derry for giving me that opportunity.

“I would like to thank all my coaches from Real Tubber FC and Raff Cretaro for introducing me to the club as mascot when I was five-years old, Sligo Leitrim youths, Sligo Rovers 17s, Niall Harrison, Colm Jinks and Danny O’Leary, the u19s, Dinky (Brian Dorrian) and the first team management, Liam Buckley, John Russell and Dave Campbell for all their encouragement and guidance throughout the years.

“I’d also like to thank everyone behind the scenes at Sligo Rovers and all the fans for supporting me over the last two seasons.

“Best of luck to everyone at the club for the rest of the season.”

Liam Buckley said: “Liam has decided to take up this offer. We wish him well. We don’t want to lose our young players and going forward the IT Sligo scholarship scheme will help with that.

“It’s disappointing but we wish Liam a great future and perhaps one day we will see him in a Sligo Rovers jersey again.”

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