The 32-year-old has instantly been given the opportunity to play European football after spending the past few months in relative obscurity at Tallaght Stadium. Speaking to Extratime last Friday, before the move to Sporting, Cahill felt frustrated by a season to date largely played out as a spectator.
“I’ve been watching from the stands the last couple of weeks and haven’t even been on the subs bench…with a great club like Shamrock Rovers you want to be on the pitch.” The four time league winner has notably (given the timing of the move) the most appearances in Europe for an Irish home-based player, having lined out on 38 occasions during spells with Cork City, Shelbourne and Drogheda United.
While Sporting make their maiden voyage across the continent, Cahill joins a squad that has a wealth of experience on the European front with Glen Crowe (who stands alone with 10 goals as the leading scorer for Irish clubs), Shaun Maher, Gary Kirby and the recently signed Colin Hawkins among the stalwarts on this stage while Eamon Zayed and Ger O’Brien have European experience with Drogheda and Derry City respectively. Liam Buckley is looking forward to the versatile midfielder joining the ranks at Morton Stadium.
“When I heard Ollie became available on Thursday, I was keen to explore the possibility of signing him until the end of the season.
“He’s a player with a superb attitude and, similar to Colin Hawkins who we signed last week, has enjoyed a decorated career in the domestic game over the past 15 years. The fact he’s able to play in defence, midfield or as a winger was a key factor for me.”
Meanwhile, Buckley has a number of injury worries to contend with as his squad settles in to their Madeira base today. Shaun Maher is the biggest doubt with a hip flexor injury, while a Conan Byrne thigh injury forced him off at the interval in Friday’s 3-0 win at Bray Wanderers and both remain doubtful for Thursdays clash in Funchal.
Shane McFaul is making good progress on the hamstring strain which put him out of the Bray game while Ger O’Brien is expected to recover from the groin ailment he suffered early on at the Carlisle Grounds.
Sporting will train both tomorrow and Tuesday morning before staging their final workout on the eve of Thursday’s game at the match venue, the Estádio da Madeira. The stadium lies at a slight altitude in the Choupana district in the mountains north of Funchal. .
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