Town to sign Irish keeper

IPSWICH Town have agreed to sign Irish keeper Brian Murphy - but he won't be able to make his Blues debut until next year.

Derek Davis

IPSWICH Town have agreed to sign Irish keeper Brian Murphy - but he won't be able to make his Blues debut until next year.

The 26-year-old is understood to have had a medical, agreed personal terms and signed a pre-agreement, to join Town from Bohemians when the League of Ireland season finishes in November.

Due to the transfer window being shut at that time Murphy will only be able to train with Town, as George O'Callaghan did before joining officially from Cork City. He won't be able to play in a competitive match until the window re-opens in January.

Pre-agreements are common practice among out-of-contract players and clubs when there is a delay before actually joining, and Bohemians are fully aware of Murphy's plans.

Murphy is hoping to win another League of Ireland winner's medal with the Bhos before joining the Blues, where he will provide competition to Richard Wright and the current No. 2 Shane Supple.

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Town also have a young Irish keeper Ian McLoughlin, who was on the bench for the League Cup win at Shrewsbury on Tuesday, and Murphy's arrival could mean Supple going out on loan again next year.

Murphy has experience in Europe for the Bhos and an FAI Cup winner's medal also under his belt, and has twice been voted the Irish Soccer Writers' Goalkeeper of the Year. He was the first keeper to be voted FAI League of Ireland player of the year, when he won the accolade this year.

He has been capped at under-19, 20 and 21 level and, due to his outstanding form over the past three years in the Republic, the Waterford-born keeper has been tipped for a full international call-up.

But Giovanni Trapatonni has told him he needs to be playing at a higher level before he will be considered as cover for Shay Given.

Ipswich Town provides the ideal solution, although Bristol City have also shown an interest in him recently.

The 6ft 1ins keeper started his professional career at Manchester City when he was signed by Joe Royle but faced with competition from David Seaman, Nicky Weaver and Carlo Nash at the time, he never made a first team appearance.

After loan spells with Oldham Athletic and Peterborough United, Murphy signed for Swansea City but after just 13 league appearances was sidelined again due to the form of Frenchman Willy Gueret, and so moved to Bohemians where he has been since 2007.

The signing of Brian Murphy has caused some confusion in other quarters with reports appearing on the internet that Town had signed Sunderland striker Daryl Murphy, also a 26-year-old from Waterford.

Town have also been linked with Bohemians midfielder Gary Deegan but no deal has been done there as yet.