Derry City have signed striker Michael Rafter joining Paddy Kavanagh and Sean Houston as recent signings made by Candystripes’ manager Declan Devine.
Tipperary born Rafter arrives at the Brandywell having been previously signed by former Dundalk manager Seán McCaffrey who worked with the striker at youth level for Ireland. He has competed for Ireland from U15-U19 level to date and has had spells with local side St. Kevin Boys, Colchester United in England and Waterford United before joining the Lilywhites at the start of 2012.
Speaking to the Londonderry Sentinel, Rafter expressed his happiness to join Declan Devine’s side, outlining his belief that the Candystripes will contend for honours again next season following their success in claiming the 2012 FAI Cup.
“I’m delighted to have signed for such a big club as Derry City. They are steeped in history and I just think we are signing good players and we are looking to expand on what they did last year.
“They had a good season and ended it by winning the FAI Cup and I think they can push for the league this year. They were a match for any team last year. I definitely think we can push on this year. I feel we are going to be very strong if we can keep everybody fit and as I have said, competition for places is going to be brilliant.”
Rafter had a mixed 2012 season with Dundalk which saw him experience many highs and lows in the space of 12 months. Rafter was criticised by many for his sending-off in a game against St. Pats in May for fighting with a teammate. His fortune had turned around by the end of the season as he scored two crucial goals in Dundalk's second leg victory of the Promotion-Relegation play-off against Waterford which saw them win 4-2 on aggregate and maintain their Premier Division status.
20 year old Rafter scored seven league goals last season and is expected to compete with Rory Patterson, Derry’s sole striker signed to date, ahead of the 2012 season.