Goalkeeping changes in Tallaght as Rovers confirm departure of Bazunu and Horgan

Sat, Feb 09 2019

Bazunu's penalty save against Cork in July to secure a draw for Rovers - the first points Cork City had dropped at home all season at that time Credit: Steve Alfred (ETPhotos)

Shamrock Rovers confirmed that Gavin Bazunu has left the Hoops having completed his permanent transfer to Premier League side Manchester City and also that Kevin Horgan has also departed the club.

The Hoops are now looking to finalise a deal with goalkeeper Leon Pohls to come into Stephen Bradley's squad. The German 'keeper has played in a number of Rovers’ pre-season friendlies – including as a substitute for Alan Mannus in Friday’s 2-0 win over Brentford B. 

Kevin Horgan, who made 19 competitive appearance for the Hoops over the last couple of seasons, has also left Shamrock Rovers, returning to Galway United, his former club.

Meanwhile Manchester City have secured the permanent move of Bazunu to the Premier League club. City had signed the player late last season, for a fee believed to be around €500,000, with the plan for the ‘keeper to stay with Rovers until after his Leaving Cert exams.

Rovers’ Sporting Director Stephen McPhail noted on Friday that “whilst we originally planned for Gavin to stay at Rovers until July and see out his education to complete his Leaving Certificate at our education partner Ashfield College, arrangements have been made to accommodate Gavin doing his studies and moving to Manchester.

"Gavin has completed the move earlier than we originally expected and we wish Gavin all the very best in his career development at City.

“Working with Gavin, his family and the other parties involved we are happy that this is the best scenario for Gavin and for the football club."

The teenage goalkeeper was named by Republic of Ireland Under-17 Head Coach Colin O'Brien in his 20-man squad for next week's International Friendly double-header against Poland and Belgium in Marbella and started for City's under-18 team on Saturday.

Both Bazunu and Aaron Bolger – who has recently gone on loan to Premier League club Cardiff City – were part of Rovers’ Player Education Partnership which saw them train with the Rovers first team in the morning before attending secondary school in Ashfield College in the afternoon.

Bazunu began playing with Rovers as a seven year old and after a spell away from the Hoops signed back with the club in 2015 – joining the club’s under 14 team.

He progressed through Rovers’ underage sides before making his first senior start at the age of 16 and 109 days - becoming the youngest player ever to make a first team appearance in goal for the Hoops.

He earned a clean sheet in each of the four league games he played in for the Hoops last season.

He kept former Northern Ireland international goalkeeper Alan Mannus, who re-joined Rovers in July, out of the team when the Hoops played in Europe – where Rovers were defeated 2-1 on aggregate after extra-time by AIK Stockholm (who went on to win the 2018 Swedish title).