THE transfer of former Westport United underage goalkeeper Conor O’Malley from St. Patrick's Athletic to Sky Bet League One club Peterborough United has been confirmed.
Conor is the first Westport United player to join an English Football League club since Willie Martin McNally, who played in the old English Third Division with Brentford FC during the 1950s.
A native of Carrowkennedy, Conor started with Westport United in goal in 2006 and spent five years at the club as a promising young goalkeeper. He was part of the Under 16 team that won the Mayo League, Mayo Cup and Connaught Cup in the 2010-11 season. He also represented Mayo up to Under 16 level and was part of the Kennedy Cup 2008 squad.
Westport United PRO Kenneth Gannon, who was one of Conor's coaches while he was at the club, said that when he contacted Conor to congratulate him on his move to Peterborough United, known as The Posh, he replied: “Thanks a million Kenneth, really appreciate everything you and Jim (Rocliffe) did for me over the years.”
Kenneth added: “It was a pleasure to work with Conor for five years and it all began when myself and Jim Rocliffe were appointed Under 12 managers back in 2006 and I used the opportunity to go to Rice College to check out potential for the side. The very first person I was told about was Conor and he was playing in goal for Carrowkennedy National School, so I observed him in action and I was very impressed with his ability first off - he really had potential and at the presentation awards some weeks later, Jim approached Conor’s parents about signing for Westport United as a goalkeeper, and I think that was one of the best decisions ever made.
“Conor was very agile and a lot of that came from swimming and as soon as he came on board, he was willing to learn and he was brilliant at absorbing information and he displayed a great sense of maturity. The one big thing we needed from Conor was to be more vocal but that developed over time. If Conor was ever asked to take other goalkeepers for a warm-up, he automatically did it without fuss and he had a top class attitude.
“As Conor improved, I thought that there was a very good potential that he would play at a higher level and that was no surprise to me that he would move to the next level. Something that I always wanted from our players is to get to the highest level they can get.
“Conor, when he was captain or vice-captain, took to the task and demonstrated his qualities as a very mature and able leader on the pitch. He took every match and training session seriously and would be very disappointed if he let the lads down.
“When Conor moved on, I was obviously delighted for him as it opened up more opportunities for him and I was privileged to travel to Wexford to see him come on as sub for his country against Wales. Conor is a mature, well-rounded young man and he has done brilliantly for himself, and I would like to go on record to wish him all the best in his latest path of what has been a successful footballing career.”