Rafter leaves for Ireland

PROMISING young Colchester United striker Michael Rafter has left the club by mutual consent.

The 18-year-old, who has represented his native Republic of Ireland at Under-19 level, requested that his contract could be cancelled in order to return to his native country.

Rafter joined the U’s youth academy in 2008 and having scored goals regularly at that level, progressed into the reserves and continued to earn international honours.

An ankle injury ruled him out for much of last season, but the U’s had already seen enough to offer him a senior contract on his 18th birthday this summer.

Speaking on Friday morning, U’s boss John Ward said: “We have released Michael by mutual consent as of today.

“He came to me recently and requested that we could cancel his contract.

“From what I understand, he is likely to go back to Ireland and we have not retained his registration, so he is free to start his career afresh somewhere else.”

Most Read

The teenage forward grew up in southern central County of Tipperary and represented the region all the way up to Under-16 level.

Just after his 16th birthday he attended soccer trials at Middlesborough, Celtic, Reading, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Colchester United in July 2008 before eventually joining the latter.