The Irish League’s worst kept secret is finally out — striker Robbie McDaid has severed his links with Glentoran and will join Big Two rivals Linfield when his contract expires at the end of the month.
Glens boss Mick McDermott yesterday confirmed the former Leeds United player’s departure, wishing him “all the best for the future”.
McDaid’s Oval exit has been on the cards for some time. It is understood his relationship with McDermott broke down several months ago and the player was banished from even training with the first-team squad.
Just as he did two years ago when he snapped up defender Conor Pepper and midfielder Navid Nasseri — who subsequently moved on to Larne — hours after the Glens won the Irish Cup, Blues boss David Healy was quick off the mark to land his man.
McDaid is expected to be announced as one of the club’s marquee summer signings in July.
“Robbie hasn’t informed us (the club) officially, but he has informed a member of our staff that he has agreed terms with Linfield,” admitted McDermott. “These things happen in football, we wish him well.
“Some things work out and some don’t. Robbie scored some vital goals for Glentoran in his five seasons at the club and has left some great memories in the hearts of their fans.
“He decided to move on at the expiry of his contract. Robbie played an integral role in our Irish Cup win back in 2020, scoring the winning goal in extra-time against Ballymena United. He also took the step with us back in 2019 when moving from part-time to full-time football, so he has played a part in our journey.”
McDaid could now form one of the slickest strike partnerships with the Blues’ two other new signings Joel Cooper and Chris McKee, who was on loan from Rangers last season but has now made the move permanent.
Gael Bigirimana and Dillon Powers also joined McDaid in the Oval departure lounge yesterday.
Having spent two years at the club since moving from Newcastle, Bigirimana’s stay was plagued by injury.
Powers only arrived at the club in January, but the former Orange County midfielder failed to make an impact as Glentoran’s bid for the Irish League title hit the buffers in the final straight.
“We wish both players well,” added McDermott. “Bigi is considering options in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. He is a former Newcastle United team-mate of Lee Clark, who is managing a team in Africa.
“He keeps in regular contact with Bigi. In fact, he tried to sign him last season, so that is a possibility for him.
“Dillon has decided to return to the United States with his family. He’s a top professional, but he now wants to focus on the coaching side of the game.
“Indeed, he is undertaking his A coaching Licence in Belfast at the minute.”
Meanwhile, it is understood that Derry City are leading a posse of clubs for the signature of defender Caolan Marron.
The former Glenavon man is expected to be on his way out of The Oval, along with ex-Linfield striker Michael O’Connor.
But striker Danny Purkis could be making a surprise return to the east Belfast club, although Larne are also understood to be interested in the player’s signature.
He quit Glenavon last August to rejoin Amateur League side East Belfast, having signed an agreement not to feature for any other Danske Bank Premiership side until 2024.
Purkis reverted to amateur status, which could cause problems if he decided to return to the top flight.