Ballybrown defender Paudie O'Connor is joining Lincoln City for next season
HIGHLY-RATED Limerick-born defender Paudie O'Connor has signed for Sky Bet League One side Lincoln City on a long-term contract.
Twenty four-year-old Ballybrown man O'Connor is a free agent this summer after the conclusion of his deal with Bradford City, and chose to join the Imps despite interest from across the EFL.
O'Connor was the big winner at Bradford City's end of season awards last month, scooping the two main prizes at the Utilita Energy Stadium. The Limerick defender the heart of defence for all of Bradford's 11 clean sheets in League Two last season and scored three goals.
Paudie O'Connor told the Lincoln City website: "I wanted to pick somewhere I could develop and have the opportunity to play another 40 plus games a season, as I have over the past few years.
"My next career move needed to be right football-wise. I wanted to step up to League One and it’s clear there is a structure in place here to allow me to kick on.
"I've had a good couple of weeks off so feel rested and I'm just buzzing to get in for pre-season."
O'Connor joined Bradford from Leeds United in 2019 on a three-year contract - after turning down offers from League One - to bolster City’s new-look backline.
The defender made his first-team debut for Leeds against Sunderland in April 2018 and penned a new contract at Elland Road prior to linking up with Blackpool.
Further Championship appearances for the Limerickman came against Preston North End, Aston Villa and Barnsley towards the end of last season.
In January O’Connor moved to Bradford initially on loan until the end of last season.
O’Connor featured 39 times for Limerick FC in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division and First Divisions prior to his switch to Leeds.
Starting out for local side Kilcornan, O’Connor also appeared for Breska Rovers and Regional United before being picked up for Limerick’s U19s and moving on to the club’s senior side.
Lincoln City head coach Mark Kennedy added: “Paudie was our No.1 target for this position and we are delighted to be able to announce him as our first signing of the summer. He has been in great demand and we have worked really hard to convince him that this is the right move for his career.
"Paudie is more than just a fantastic defender. He is also a leader and will have a massive role to play in what we want to achieve moving forward, on and off the pitch.”
Paudie will officially join the Imps on 1 July after the expiration of his contract with Bradford."
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