Doncaster Rovers win the race to sign Kieran Sadlier from Cork City

Mon, Dec 10 2018

Sadlier poses with the matchball after his hat-trick against Bray Wanderers in October, three of the 16 goals he scored in the league in 2018. Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)

English League One promotion-chasers Doncaster Rovers have won the race to sign winger Kieran Sadlier from Cork City on an 18-month deal.

The former Ireland under-21 international will link up once more with Donnie boss Grant McCann, whom he worked under while at Peterborough United.

24-year-old Sadlier finished the 2018 season as City’s top scorer with 23 goals in all competitions, including 16 in the league.

He joined the Rebel Army midway through the 2017 season and helped John Caulfield’s side to a league and FAI Cup double, scoring the winning kick in the Cup final shootout.

Hayward Heaths native Sadlier had widely been expected to return to the UK on the conclusion of his deal with Cork, and Doncaster reported several other League One sides had bid for his services.

“It’s been an 18 months I’ll never forget and a platform given to me by Cork City Football Club and the League of Ireland,” Sadlier said in a statement on Twitter.

“In footballing terms the best decision I ever made was coming over to Ireland and playing as it’s given me the opportunity to showcase myself and meet some amazing people on and off the pitch.

“I’ve played with two unbelievable sets of lads at Sligo Rovers and Cork City over the past three years but also against a league full of talented players!

“But the time has now come for me to move on and test myself further.

“I’d like to say a massive thank you to the fans who fill Turner’s Cross every week without fail and travel in huge numbers on the road. That’s one of the reasons this club is so special.

“So thank you again CCFC, it’s been a pleasure and an honour to wear shirt. I hope I’ve done it justice.”

Sadlier came through the youth ranks at West Ham United but left without making an appearance in 2015, joining Scottish Premier League side St Mirren.

He moved to Peterborough later that year, where he linked up with Dave Robertson, who gave him his first-team debut and would bring him to Sligo Rovers the following year.

Sadlier spent a year-and-a-half with the Bit o’ Red, finishing as top scorer in his only full season at the Showgrounds, prompting Cork to pay a transfer fee.

The winger isn't the first League of Ireland player to make the move to Doncaster in recent times - defender Shane Blaney joined from Finn Harps earlier this year.