By Gerard Mulreaney (@gerardmulreaney)
With the season quickly coming to a conclusion Sligo Rovers are turning their attention to next season with the news that defender John Mahon has put pen to paper on a new 2-year contract.
After coming through the club’s youth ranks the hugely talented defender has become a regular starter for Liam Buckley’s side. Over the course of three seasons he has played 64 times for the club.
He is seen by many as the best young defender in the country, with clubs like Celtic, Rangers, Blackburn, Derby and others keeping a close eye on his development.
Sligo boss Buckley was delighted to get the deal over the line and is looking forward to working with him for the next couple of years: “He’s a huge talent and already a fantastic defender for us. At just 20 years of age he already has lots of experience and more to gain.
“We were patient with John coming back, we had to be and it will stand to him over time. I know what it is like with injuries and that you have to be patient, particularly one such as this. I believe he has a fantastic career ahead of him and over the next two years he has the opportunity to show us all what he can do.”
The young man from Collooney was thrilled to get the new deal over the line and now just wants to concentrate on his football:“I’m very happy to sign today and have my future here. It hasn’t been the year I wanted it to be. The injury was very hard to take and I had to work hard to get back to playing. I was probably one of the few people who could take a positive from football being stopped because I knew it would give me a chance to get back and play in important games.
“Now that I am back, I just wanted it set in stone that I’ll be part of the club for two years. In the two years I want us to get to the next level. I have my ambitions to play at a higher level of course like any player and I have to go prove why I can, and in doing that I want to help the club go forward. I love playing for Rovers, I’m very proud to play for the club. I missed out on some football this year, I said it would make me stronger and I think it has done.”
It was a difficult time for him with his injury but was full of praise for those who helped him through it: “My Mum is a nurse and was a great support, especially early on after the surgery.
“There was a time at 3am where I was getting pains and she brought me to hospital knowing it was the right thing, things like that. Mark Howley our strength and conditioning coach did lots of sessions with me then in the last few months and Colin (Feehily) got me gym equipment from The Showgrounds. I’m grateful to everyone who supported me during the time.
Now it’s all systems go, as Sligo head into their last league game of the season next week against Dundalk before a mouth-watering FAI Cup quarter-final against local rivals Derry City at the Showgrounds.
Photo Credits: Sligo Rovers FC