Town star owes it all to his nan

IPSWICH Town’s Shane O’Connor had his nan on top of his Christmas present list after she was instrumental in the left-sided defender or midfielder prolonging his footballing career.

She managed to obtain the phone number of Blues manager Roy Keane and enabled the 20-year-old to ‘pester’ the fellow Irishman into giving him a trial in the summer of 2009.

O’Connor had been released by Liverpool and thought his career might be over and that he would have to return to his native Cork to play ’local’ football.

“My nan lived in the same part of Cork as the Keane’s and she went round to the gaffer’s mother’s house and got his number,” explained O’Connor, who is currently out injured with a shoulder injury sustained in training on Christmas Eve.

“This was before he became Ipswich manager I did give him a call and we had a brief meeting.

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“And it moved on from there and we spoke again, and I ended up coming over for a trial.

“I did not know too many people in football and I’m lucky he gave me a chance.

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“He’s been really good to me and with a shortage of left backs last season I got my chance.”

Keane admires the determination to succeed and the fighting spirit in O’Connor, and the manager said: “He pestered me to give him a trial - and this led to an initial one-year contract, which turned into two more last summer.

“He’s an honest lad and I’ll have him in my squad all the while.

“We like Shane and the players like Shane and having been brought up with Liverpool he knows how to deal with the ball.”

O’Connor has found himself among plenty of fellow countrymen, and he went on: “It’s like being at home, which is different to Liverpool where I was the only Irish player.

“There are four or five of us from Cork at Ipswich, but that’s not to say that we’ll all sit round for table at Christmas together!”

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