Robbie McCourt has joined Sligo Rovers today for the 2021 SSE Airtricity League season.
The versatile Dubliner moves to Rovers from Waterford FC where he enjoyed an excellent season at the RSC.
The 22-year-old can operate in defence and midfield. McCourt spent five seasons with West Bromwich Albion in England before returning to Ireland with Bohemians in mid-2018.
The former Under-19 international, who was also part of a squad at Under-21 level under Stephen Kenny, switched to Waterford in 2019 and missed just one game in the season as he became a key part of their side.
He can play at centre-half, as well as midfield, and has played on the left side as well. McCourt: “I think it’s a very good move for me. Liam sounded very interested in me and when he gave me the call, the only thing on my mind was to get down and sign.
“I had a few offers but really as soon as I spoke to Liam he seemed so interested. He really liked me as a player and didn’t stop making contact. I wanted to get it done quickly then.
“I started off with St Kevin’s in Dublin, joined West Brom at 15 and played there for four or five years. I enjoyed my time there. I came back and signed for Bohemians.
“I was still young when I came back to Bohs. It’s not always easy. Bohemians had their team set already so I found it hard to break through. I did well but I wasn’t playing as much as I wanted. It was time to move on.
“I dropped out of football for a few months, played with my local team and Alan Reynolds called me and said he’d love me at Waterford. I had a great season with them.”
Now officially a Rovers player, McCourt said the surroundings in The Showgrounds and the knowledge he has of the Bit O’ Red convinced him to join.
“I’m very excited. It’s always a club I didn’t like travelling down to because I knew it was going to be a tough game. That was with both Bohs and Waterford. It was always a tough place to pick up results. But when you’re there and you look around the place with the facilities and all, it’s top of the range and looking at it. It’s probably one of the best in the country.
“The manager spoke to me about the aims he has. What the club wants to do is something I want to be a part of. I can’t want to get down to Sligo now. Hopefully we can do something special in 2021.”
As the season did resume in mid-2020, it was in defence where McCourt shone for the Blues.
“At the start of last season before lockdown, I was playing centre-midfield or left-wing.
“When the season resumed John Sheridan came in and started me at centre-back and I did well. It wasn’t new to me play at centre-back. I started my career at that position. It was grand and I fitted in well.
“Liam knows I can play a few positions. It’s just a matter of finding out where he wants to play me but I’ll play wherever he wants me to play. I think I’ll fit in anywhere. Centre-back would probably be my most comfortable position as I probably played there most of my career and then left-back. Those two would probably be my preferred.”
Liam Buckley said: “He’s a very talented player. I think he’s going to appreciate the environment here and the best is yet to come from Robbie.
“From a youngster in Dublin and going over to England, he has been a technically good player. Last season was a very good one for him in Waterford and I felt he did well at Bohs.
“The versatility he has will be a help to us. Robbie will be comfortable in a couple of positions.
“We already have good players in the group and I believe he will add to it. He will improve with the better quality of player around him and my job is to make this group better.
“We are trying to do that over the coming period.”
Eleven players are now contracted professionally for the 2021 campaign.