Limerick FC's new kids on the block

Limerick FC's new kids on the block

A look at some of the new players Limerick FC have brought in to bolster their squad ahead of the start of the 2017 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division season.

Brendan Clarke, Goalkeeper

A PRODUCT of the Cherry Orchard youth system, Brendan Clarke became a goalkeeper after initially playing a striker in his younger days.

Clarke joined St Pat’s at the beginning of the 2003 season.

As a twenty-three year old, Clarke got his first real chance of first team football while on loan at Sporting Fingal for the 2008 season.

2009 saw Clarke in and out of the first team at St Pat’s.

Following that, Clarke permanently signed for Sporting Fingal.

While extremely competitive, they were liquidised and Clarke landed in Sligo.

He established himself as the number one.

However, despite a good second-place finish, Clarke was controversially substituted with only seconds to go before a penalty shootout in the 2011 FAI Cup final.

Ciaran Kelly was his replacement and his heroic performance in the shootout ensured the Cup went to The Showgrounds.

Returning to his childhood club in 2012, Clarke went on to win a Premier Division title in 2013, an FAI Cup in 2014 as well as two more EA Sports Cup wins (one over Limerick), a President’s Cup and a Leinster Senior Cup.

He has made twenty European appearances.

David O'Connor, Defender

A left-sided central defender that can be equally as effective at left back, O'Connor is another gifted footballer to come from the Belvedere conveyor belt of talent.

No stranger to success in Limerick, it was a very impressive performance in the Kennedy Cup with North Eastern Counties Schoolboys League that caught the attention of Belvo back in 2005.

In 2009, O'Connor joined UCD to compete in the League of Ireland.

He made his senior debut in a game against Athlone Town in April of that year and scored his first senior goal against St Pat's in May.

Tallying up almost 100 league appearances for the Students - including those played under current boss Martin Russell - he scored six times.

Making a huge move in 2013 to Shamrock Rovers , O'Connor would remain in Tallaght for three years.

Rodrigo Tosi, Striker

RODRIGO Tosi may be the best-traveled player Limerick have ever had on their books.

The 34-year-old Brazilian striker began his footballing career with Malutrom of the Campeonato Paranaese, before switching to Arucaria a year later.

Rodrigo went to Brunei from here in 2005 to join DPMM - the very club where he would meet Joe Gamble ten years later - prompting his move to Limerick. Tosi scored 25 times in just 40 games.

He also spent time in Greece and Switzerald. Perhaps his most successful spell came while he was at Swiss club Lausanne in 2009.

In the 2009-10 season, they reached the Swiss Cup final while in the second tier. They were beaten by Basel but qualified for the Europa League as a consolation.

After averaging a goal every three games for 'Les Blancs', Tosi moved to Iran. Tractor Sazi and Esteghlal hosted him during his time in the Middle East, but it was from here that he would rejoin DPMM almost a decade on from his first spell.

Scoring 42 times in 54 appearances, Joe Gamble took note and pointed him towards Limerick after brief spells back in Brazil and Indonesia with Persija Jakarta.

All in all, Ireland will be the ninth country in the world where Tosi has played football professionally.

Chiedozie Ogbene, Winger

A product of City’s extremely successful U-19s squad before making his senior debut for the Cork City back in October 2015,

Ogbene’s had various cameos at senior level but due to the form shown by Stephen Dooley and Karl Sheppard, could never nail down a starting spot.

He came on in City’s FAI Cup final win over Dundalk and is viewed at the club as having all the tools to carve out a significant career.

Ogbene's won the Enda McGuill Cup with Cork City and played a huge part in their run in the UEFA Youth League where they just fell short against the mighty A.S. Roma.

Born in Nigeria, 'Dozie' moved to Ireland back in 2005 and settled in Cork; attending Bunscoil Chríost Rí.

A technical dual-star in his own right, Ogbene had an equally bright future as a Gaelic footballer - playing for Nemo Rangers on top of plying his trade with Tramore Athletic.

It was while at Everton. where Cork City boss Stephen Bermingham picked him up for Cork City's underage sides.

Ogbene has been notably impressive in Limerick's pre-season - scoring four times in four games.

He will compete for a starting place with Ian Turner and Stephen Kenny, who are also Cork natives that have played for Cork City.

Bastien Hery, Midfielder

A native of France, Bastien Hery was once a very promising prospect in the Paris St Germain academy.

After two years at PSG since turning professional, Héry was released by the club before joining Championship club Sheffield Wednesday in the summer of 2012.

Really struggling to find a break in the Sheffield Wednesday side, Héry joined League Two side Rochdale on 8 May 2013 on a free transfer. Héry scored his first goal for the club on 12 October 2013, in a 3–0 win over Newport County.

After only making twelve appearance that season, Rochdale were promoted to League One.

Héry signed a two-year contract with Rochdale in June of 2014.

In his second season, Héry made twenty eight appearances as Rochdale fought off relegation to League Two successfully.

On 24 June 2015, Héry joined League Two side Carlisle United on a one year deal.

Héry came under the spotlight of the English media for his performance in the third round of the League Cup where his Carlisle side drew 1-1 with English giants Liverpool - a game in which Hery assisted team mate Derek Asamoah in scoring an equaliser.

A very brief spell at Accrington Stanley followed, before Hery agreed to join Limerick ahead of the 2017 season.

Operationally his best playing just behind a striker, the naturally gifted Frenchman could play out wide or even at the base of midfield alongside club captain Shane Duggan if manager Martin Russell wishes to utilise him there.

Hery has been capped at international level also.

He played twice for the French U-18s back in 2009.