Former Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper Alan Mannus to return to Ireland in the summer

Tue, Apr 17 2018

Mannus in action for Rovers against Bohemians in 2011. Credit: Fergus McNally (ETPhotos)

League of Ireland clubs are on high alert after former Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper Alan Mannus confirmed he is to return to Ireland after seven years in Scotland with St Johnstone.

The Belfast stopper has already been linked with a return to his former club as Hoops boss Stephen Bradley has dropped both Kevin Horgan and Tomer Chencinski already this season.

And his manager at St Johnstone, Tommy Wright, has confirmed 'one of the club's great goalkeepers' will return to Ireland for the final years of his career.

35-year-old Mannus has made more than 200 appearances for St Johnstone since making the move from the Hoops in the summer of 2011 and helped them to a Scottish Cup in 2014.

His contract with the Perth club expires at the end of the Scottish season in May and he'll be free to sign on with a League of Ireland club from the beginning of July.

“I spoke to Alan about a month ago and he told me then of his desire to go back to Ireland with his family,” Wright told the club's official website.

“After seven seasons with the club he decided that the time was right to go back there to live and to continue his career.

“I’ve known Alan since 2001 when he was at Linfield and I’ve always had a great relationship with him.

“He’s a model professional who has helped our younger goalkeepers enormously and he’s been a shining example to them.

“I think it’s safe to say that over the past few years he’s been in the top three or four goalkeepers in Scotland and he’s done tremendously well for the football club.

“He’s played a major part in what’s been a successful period in the club’s history and he was a key player in our Scottish Cup-winning campaign.

“I think he’s definitely one who will be remembered in the St. Johnstone history books as one of the club’s great goalkeepers.

“I think he should definitely be up there in the class of ‘legends’ for what he has done over seven seasons here.”

Toronto-born Mannus began his career in his native Belfast with Linfield, where he won five Premiership titles in nine years.

2009 saw him make the move south to Shamrock Rovers, where Michael O'Neill had just taken the reins, and he won two league titles in Tallaght.

He was part of the side that qualified for the Europa League group stages in 2011 but had signed for St Johnstone by the time the Hoops sealed qualification in Belgrade.

Mannus made eight appearances for Northern Ireland between 2004 and 2016.