When Kieran Sadlier was announced as a Sligo Rovers player in January 2016 I will admit I knew very little about the ex Irish international.
I was sceptical as tp whether he would be able to adjust to the type of football that the League of Ireland offers up and would be another player who will spend a few months at the club and move on to become another League of Ireland journeyman.
Boy was I wrong. From the first time I saw him play i knew manager Dave Robertson had signed something special. That instead of moving around the league and becoming a journeyman, we would have to pull out all the stops to make sure that the board could keep Sadlier at the club for as long as possible.
Having started his career at Cambridge United, he moved to West Ham United in 2005. Having spent eight years at the Irons, Sadlier was released by them in February 2015, where he headed north to join up with Scottish side St Mirren.
Sadlier made eleven appearances for the Scottish side and scored one goal, which came in a 4-1 home victory over Kilmarnock on the 25th April 2015.
Having declined St Mirren manager Ian Murray’s offer to stay with the Scottish club, Sadlier moved back down south and joined Peterborough United on the 20th July 2015 after a successful trail period.
In the 2015/2016 season Sadlier only made the one appearance for The Posh, that being in a League Cup tie against Charlton Athletic before he was loaned out to Halifax Town in October 2015 for three months. Sadlier made ten appearances for The Shaymen, but failed to score a goal.
On the 11th January 2016 Sadlier for me made the best decision of his life, and joined Sligo Rovers.
He again linked up with Dave Robertson, the manager who brought him to Peterborough. While his contract was only for six months initially, Sadlier signed a long term deal with Rovers after only seven games at the Showgrounds which keeps him in Sligo until the end of the 2017 season.
He made his debut for the Bit O’Red in a 2-0 home defeat by Shamrock Rovers. After struggling to adapt to the hustle and bustle of the League of Ireland, he quickly armoured himself to fans of Rovers with his performances.
His ability to turn on a five pence coin and attack at lightning speed was something Rovers fans had missed at the club. He also wasn’t afraid to get stuck in at the back.
Sadlier finished this season joint top scorer for Sligo Rovers, on ten goals along with Raffaele Cretaro, and was instrumental in helping Rovers finish fifth in the league.
He has also played at various levels for Ireland from under-15s right up to under 21 making a total of eighteen appearances across all levels and scoring two goals, the first of which was on his debut for the Irish under 15 team against Northern Ireland. His only other goal for Ireland came in an Under-19 game.
After settling in to the League of Ireland last season, there will be a lot of expectation on Sadlier’s young shoulders next season.
He’s one of those players fans love to watch and young lads try to copy on the streets. My only concern for him is that come June next season he’ll be back off on his travels to England.
For me he has the ability to play at the top level in England. He can score goals, create goals and can defend too. He fits in to manager Dave Robertson system perfectly and his abilities on the ball gives those around him the confidence to get in to the box, knowing that any ball he delivers will be bang on target.
If he keeps up the level of performances from last season i can see no reason why he can’t follow in the footsteps of the likes of Dundalk trio Gary Rogers, Daryl Horgan, and Andy Boyle and receive a call up to the Ireland squad.
I know I’ll be making a bet with him for more than ten goals and assists for next season after he did both this season.
I’m hopeful that he has a long and rewarding career at Sligo Rovers, and as long as he doesn’t move off to join that other bunch in Tallaght, I for one will be wishing him well in his career, even if it doesn’t involve the Bit O’Red.