Preston North End sign Graham Burke from Shamrock Rovers

Wed, Jun 13 2018

Burke in action during a pre-season friendly with Clifftonville in 2017. Credit: Laszlo Geczo (ETPhotos)

Republic of Ireland striker Graham Burke will join Preston North End from Shamrock Rovers when the English transfer window opens on July 1st.

The Dubliner broke a 40-year-old record earlier this month when he became the first League of Ireland player to score for Ireland since the late Ray Treacy in 1978.

Preston were a number of clubs from across the water interested in the 24-year-old before his international bow, and they were quickest to move to tie up the transfer.

The Lancashire club have dealt extensively with the League of Ireland, with Alan Browne, Daryl Horgan, Andy Boyle, Sean Maguire and Kevin O'Connor having moved in recent years.

The fee paid is believed to be in excess of €300,000 for a player who had 18 months left to run on his deal at Tallaght Stadium.

“I was thrilled with the opportunity to have the chance to come to such a good club as this,” Burke told the Preston North End website.

“It was also great to be joining a club where I know some of the boys, so it should help me settle in.

“I have kept a close eye on the club with the Irish players going over there and knowing the likes of Callum [Robinson] and DJ, so when I found out about the interest, it was a no brainer for me to try and get the deal done.

“It is brilliant to be part of this group. Looking at last season, we finished just two points outside the Play-Offs and to do that with such a young group illustrates the hunger that is there and I have the same desire to get better as a football player.

“All young players want to improve and the ambitions we have as individuals and as a group are to get into the Premier League and all the boys will be fighting for that.”

Speaking to the Shamrock Rovers website, he added: “It was brilliant to play for Shamrock Rovers, the biggest club in Ireland.

“I want to thank Stephen Bradley for bringing me here, for showing so much faith in me, letting me express myself and making me a better player. It’s been brilliant and it’s got me to where I am now.

“I think I’ve matured and grown in everything since I’ve been here. The journey has been unbelievable.

“It doesn’t happen, the international call-up, without the gaffer and everybody believing in me. I thank the club a lot for putting its time and trust in me and I thank the fans for supporting me.”

Manager Stephen Bradley added: “I think he came to us a little bit broken but he’s matured both on and off the pitch.

“Obviously he has the ability but it’s his personality as well, his drive to be the best he can be. He’s put in a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes that people don’t see.

“I’ve no doubt that Graham is the type of player who will go over there and shine. The higher the level he plays the better Graham will be.

“He’s a top player and a top person. Obviously they’ll all be sad to see him go, we all will, but it was great to have him for the time that we did.”