Dream move for Ross teen

Delaney joins Burton Albion

Brendan Furlong

Published 30/07/2016 | 00:00

Ryan Delaney is congratulated on his move to Burton Albion by Dick Butler, Treasurer of his first club, New Ross Celtic
Ryan Delaney is congratulated on his move to Burton Albion by Dick Butler, Treasurer of his first club, New Ross Celtic

From Ferrycarrig Park to the Pirelli Stadium, the home of Championship side Burton Albion. That's the amazing story of Ryan Delaney.

The 19-year-old from New Ross town has signed professionally for the Staffordshire club in what is a tremendous boost to his fledgling career.

Ryan had been concentrating on lifting Wexford Youths out of the relegation zone of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division before being dramatically being swept across the water for a trial with Nigel Clough's Burton Albion, who have won successive promotions from League 2 to League 1, culminating in Championship football for the upcoming season for the very first time for the club.

The New Ross town native, who started his career at under-age level with New Ross Celtic, before joining Wexford Youths, spent less than a week at the club after which he was offered a two-year professional contract with the option of a third year.

Ryan got game time against Matlock Town in their 2-1 win and impressed with his composure on the ball at both centre-half and left-back.

Manager Clough said: 'He's someone who can play left-back and left-sided centre-half and he's looked comfortable. He's only 19 and when you think he's not really played at a decent level, he does a lot of things naturally.

'He's not been in full-time training and is blowing a bit at the end of games. In the next month or two we'll get him up to speed. We do (see him as a squad member). We've not got that many squad members, but if we think he's good enough, we'll play him.'

When I spoke with Ryan on Thursday before returning to the club the following day, he was still trying to take it all in.

'I found out on the Tuesday I was going over to Burton Albion for a trial on the Thursday. I trained on the Friday, played against Stoke City and got 45 minutes. I also played against Matlock Town.

'The manager was very happy with my play and style of football, and he was in contact with Wexford Youths to sort a deal.

'A deal was done and I'm returning to Burton Albion tomorow (Friday). I've a game with Exeter City that night (which incidentally they lost 1-0).

'I'm very happy, it's a great move for me and I can't wait to get fully started. I don't know how it all really came about. I've not had time to ask the manager how he became aware of me or how I came to get the trial, but I grasped it with both hands. I am still trying to come to terms with it all,' he added.

Ryan, who has performed with Wexford Youths in the under-age ranks, lined out in the SSE Airtricity Division 1 when still a youth player, and he speaks highly of the club.

'Lots of people are wishing me luck. I would like to thank everyone at Wexford Youths who have helped me over the seasons, also those in New Ross Celtic where it all started.

'My first club was New Ross Celtic where I started as a seven-year-old and played there until 16 years of age before moving down to Wexford Youths. I played in Division 1 with the Youths when still playing U-18 for the club.'

Ryan is now looking forward to adapting to his new surrounds. 'This is an unreal experience for me but one I'm looking forward to. I intend grasping the opportunity and playing in the Championship. It will be a huge step up but one I'm looking forward to,' he said.

Manager Nigel Clough is son of the legendary Brian Clough, who managed Nottingham Forest to top level success in England as well as European Cup glory, when current Irish manager Martin O'Neill was a player with the club. Ireland's assistant manager, Roy Keane, also played under Clough Senior who was one of the most colourful characters in the game.

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