Alan Mannus will now attempt to do in the Republic of Ireland this year what he couldn’t do in Northern Ireland — win the league championship.
The former Linfield goalkeeper last night joined League of Ireland title chasers Shamrock Rovers, signing an 18-month deal with the Dublin club.
Rovers 2-1 win over Derry City on Sunday night moved them to within three points of Bohemians at the top of the League of Ireland table and Mannus will now be in the frame to make his debut against Drogheda United on Friday night.
The 27-year-old declined to enter talks with Linfield over a new contract at the end of last season, when Glentoran stopped the Blues winning a fourth successive league crown, hoping to secure a cross-channel move.
He had spent time on trial with Scottish Premier League side Falkirk and played three matches for Bradford City, but wasn’t offered a contract by either of those clubs.
The switch to the League of Ireland, however, still offers a step-up in standard for the Northern Ireland squad member.
“We’re delighted Alan’s joined Shamrock Rovers,” said manager Michael O’Neill, himself a former Northern Ireland international.
“He’s a very experienced player and his arrival further strengthens our squad.
“We’ve already got two excellent goalkeepers in Barry Murphy and Robert Duggan. Alan’s signing will make things even more competitive.”
Mannus joins Cliftonville midfielder Barry Johnston in joining Rovers. He signed a six-month loan deal last month after being transfer listed by the Reds.