SHAMROCK ROVERS have snapped up Andy Lyons from cross-city rivals Bohemians on a multi–year contract.
Right back Lyons, 21, has made the switch to Tallaght as he admitted the lure of the full-time Hoops and Champions League football was too good to turn down.
Lyons said: “There was a bit of interest from the UK but I just felt that the next step for me was a full-time club, and the league champions – there’s no better place to go.
“They’ve won trophies and there’s the European factor as well.
“They played six games last season and obviously this year we’re hoping to win a few games in Europe and push on to that next level.
“My time at Bohs was brilliant and I’ve a lot of friends there. I think not getting Europe with Bohs was very disappointing and my experience last year meant that I just really want to go back there and experience that again.
“It’s about making that next step for me in my development in my career.”
The Ireland Under-21 defender did have options in England, with Crewe Alexandra interested, though the compensation figure owed to Bohemians was a stumbling block.
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Bohs will still receive compensation given his age, though the figure is lower for League of Ireland clubs than had Lyons moved abroad.
But Lyons revealed that Rovers’ boss Stephen Bradley stressed that the Hoops can be a platform for the defender to realise his UK ambitions.
“I got a call from Stephen Bradley and once I started chatting to him and hearing his plans and vision for me, that was something I was really excited about.
“England and the UK is my ambition, but he outlined what his plan is for me and I think this is the perfect club for me.
“Especially at the age I’m at now, going to a full-time set up was something that was big for me.
“There is that European exposure and hopefully some leagues and cups as well. It’s definitely going to aid my development and Stephen has a clear plan in place for me so I’m looking forward to it.”
Boss Bradley added: “We’ve liked him for a while. We tried to sign Andy a couple of years back and it didn’t quite come off.
“So we’re delighted to get him this time around because he fits our profile of player and how we try to play.
“When we had a conversation, it was pretty straightforward. Andy recognised that he wanted to be with a team that is winning and competing for things.
“It’s a chance to improve every aspect and we obviously represented that chance and that opportunity for him.
“We believe that there’s a lot of development in Andy. That’s one aspect of him coming here that we spoke about.
“We know we can help him be a better player and we feel he can help us be a better team, so it works for both.”