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Eoghan O'Connell

Rochdale

A calm and commanding centre-half, Cork-born defender Eoghan began his career in Ireland before switching to Scottish giants Celtic in 2011.

After three years impressing in the club’s Academy, he made his first-team competitive debut in 2014 in a 1-1 Premiership draw against Ross County.

He made seven league appearances for Celtic, and enjoyed a taste of European football with four appearances in UEFA Champions League fixtures, but also continued his footballing development with loan spells at Oldham Athletic, Cork City and Walsall.

Eager to be playing regular first-team football, he signed for Bury in 2017, making 52 league and cup appearances for the Gigg Lane club and scoring three times before signing for Rochdale in 2019, where he quickly became a fans’ favourite – his 2020-21 shirt was sponsored by the Dale Supporters Trust – and he was soon given the captain’s armband.

In his first two seasons at the Crown Oil Arena (Spotland), the 6ft 2ins defender racked up more than 80 first-team outings, scoring two goals.

He’s also been capped by the Republic of Ireland at U19 and U21 level.

And with his manager at Celtic, Brendan Rodgers, saying he had an “in-built brain for the game”, it’s little surprise Eoghan has established himself as a composed and reassuring presence at the heart of every defence he’s played in.


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