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Who is Cian Bolger? All you need to know about League One man who has signed for Larne


Cian Bolger captained his former club Northampton Town. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Cian Bolger captained his former club Northampton Town. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Cian Bolger captained his former club Northampton Town. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Larne have further bolstered their panel ahead of the new season with a signing that manager Tiernan Lynch has hailed as ‘another major step’ for the club.

So just who is Cian Bolger? Here’s a quick guide to the Irish League’s newest arrival…

Age: 29

Height: 6’3

Position: Centre-back

Nationality: Republic of Ireland

Previous clubs: Leicester City, Bristol Rovers (loan), Bolton Wanderers, Colchester United (loan), Southend United (loan), Southend United, Bury (loan), Fleetwood Town, Lincoln City, Northampton Town

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International experience: Republic of Ireland Under 21s

Early promise: Bolger was named as the Leicester City Academy’s Player of the Year in 2009 but never managed to make a senior appearance for the club. Instead, he made his senior breakthrough at Bristol Rovers, over a series of three separate loan spells from the Foxes. It began with six League One appearances in the latter half of the 10/11 season, in which Rovers were relegated. That perhaps benefitted Bolger in the long run as he made 38 League Two starts the following season.

Stuttering progress: He was back at Rovers for four months early in the 12/13 campaign but a cruciate ligament injury ruled him out for three months and limited him to four further appearances for the club. They did try and secure his signature on a permanent basis but the race was instead won by then Championship side Bolton. He was a Whites player for 18 months although, like at Leicester, never made a senior appearance. Instead, he spent much of time captaining the development squad and earning a limited amount of senior experience at Colchester and Southend.

Settling down: Despite making just one League Two appearance during his Southend loan due to injury, he was signed on a permanent deal, with manager Phil Brown saying, “I can’t emphasise enough how much this deal means to me as the manager of this football club”. It was there that he really settled into his senior career and became a bit of a hero.

Wembley wonder: That’s because, on May 23, 2015, Bolger scored what would be the winning penalty in the League Two play-off final to edge out Wycombe Wanderers 7-6 on spot-kicks after a 1-1 draw – not bad in front of over 38,000 spectators.

Southend boss hits out: His time at the club didn’t end overly well. After making 22 League One starts the following season, he was loaned out to Bury in March with Brown claiming Bolger was ‘demanding to play’. “I looked at the points per partnership record at the back and by far the best was Adam Barrett and Adam Thompson,” he continued.

Reverse Jamie Vardy: That summer, Bolger joined Fleetwood Town, where he made his home in League One for two-and-a-half seasons, playing 121 games and scoring 13 goals. One of the highlights came when he captained the side to a 0-0 home draw with Leicester City in the FA Cup. He had been the centre of some media attention in the build-up as he and the Foxes’ Jamie Vardy both played against their former clubs.

Bids and departure: His leading role for the club didn’t go unnoticed. Bolger was the subject of a bid from an unnamed Championship club and from Hibernian in Scotland. However, when he later didn’t agree a contract extension at the club, a deal was agreed for his move to Lincoln City.

Promotion again: Bolger went one better than 2015 when he helped Lincoln to the League Two title in 2019. One more season in League One and it was all change once again when he moved on to Northampton Town, where he was quickly made captain by then manager Keith Curle.

Opting out of a stay in League Two: After Town were relegated to League Two last term, Bolger had the option to trigger another year in his contract but after that time-frame expired, his departure was announced, teeing up this move to Larne.

What has Larne boss Tiernan Lynch said: “We feel that bringing Cian here is another major step on our journey. He brings with him a lot of experience, after having played the amount of games he has in England, and the vast majority of them at League One level. We also expect him to bring a lot of leadership the squad and knowhow as we continue our pursuit of where we want to go. I’m delighted to get him to the club and I think the fans will feel the same when they have had an opportunity to see him play.”

What has Bolger said about Larne: “Having spoken to Tiernan and others around the club, it’s clear to see how much of an exciting time this for the club and I can’t wait to get started. Once I came down to have a look around the club, spoke to Tiernan and Kenny I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. Having spent all of my career in England so far, I hope I can bring that experience into the group and help some of the younger players.”

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