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New Rossie keeper open to Mayo return


TRADING PLACES Paddy O’Malley from Westport, pictured here in action for the Mayo Under-20s in 2018, has transferred to Roscommon. Pic: Sportsfile

Ger Flanagan

WESTPORT goalkeeper Paddy O’Malley still hopes to represent his native county again in the future, but says his decision to transfer to Roscommon was for the betterment of his football career.
O’Malley, who started in goal for Mayo in the 2018 All-Ireland Under-20 Final and played in the FBD Connacht League that same year, admitted he was disappointed not to have been given more opportunities to prove himself in a senior Mayo jersey.
The IT Sligo student qualifies to play for Roscommon through his mother, who is a native of Ballinlough, with the transfer only being officially signed off by Croke Park two weeks ago.
When the call from Roscommon manager Anthony Cunningham arrived in mid-December, O’Malley said he made up his mind pretty quickly.
“I got contacted when I was doing my exams, so my head was a bit all over the place and I had to tell Anthony that I’d need two or three days to think about it,” the 22 year-old told The Mayo News.
“I wanted to talk to a few people about it too.
“Originally I was told to come in for two or three weeks and then the situation would be reassessed, but that turned out to be only two or three days. They seemed fairly keen to tie me down and it all happened like that so I went with it.”
Despite some very early apprehension about making the move, O’Malley says he made his mind up very quickly as he was aware that the Mayo senior squad had returned to training and he had not been invited to join them.
“Straight away I kind of had my mind made up… because I didn’t see any opportunity for me in Mayo this year and that’s all I wanted, even if I was third or fourth choice, I just wanted to get back in that environment to learn off the likes of Clarkey [David Clarke].
“I knew these opportunities don’t come around too often, and that I might not even be playing in three or four years, so I said I’d take up the offer and see where it takes me.
“It was slightly [disappointing]. I know I’m not number one in Mayo, but this is probably David Clarke’s last season, more than likely; Robbie [Hennelly] has been tried and tested, while Rory [Byrne] has had a good couple of years and deserved his chance,” he continued.
“I think that if they can bring in young outfielders for a development squad, why can’t they take a goalkeeper as well?
“People are giving out about a goalkeeping crisis in Mayo, but the coaches are doing nothing to help that – they’re not bringing in any young lads for even one day a week.
“The trouble with a goalkeeper is, and especially a club goalkeeper, you get thrown to one side and have to look after yourself, so if you want to develop you need to do a lot of work on your own…
“So just to be around that environment, even for one day a week, would help a lot.”
The former Rice College Westport student also revealed that there was no intervention from Mayo when news broke that he was considering transfering across. However, he still has plans to represent the Green and Red again.
“I still hope to represent Mayo some day at senior inter-county level,” he said. “Anthony [Cunningham] knows that and he told me he would never begrudge me that decision, and that he’s happy to help me progress if I want to get that far.
“I would still like to represent Mayo under this management or the next, whatever happens. I have nothing against them.”
If results go as expected later this summer, the former Mayo minor goalkeeper could be lining out against his native county in the Connacht senior championship semi-final later in June. 

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