Limerick sign former Chelsea midfielder Conor Clifford following ban for betting offences

Sun, Apr 15 2018

Clifford in action for Dundalk in the 3-1 FAI Cup defeat of Crumlin United in 2017. Credit: Laszlo Geczo

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Limeirick have announced the signing of former Ireland under-21 midfielder Conor Clifford folllowing his departure from Dundalk at the end of last season.

The 26-year-old joins following a season with the Lilywhites that came to a premature conclusion when he was issued with a six-month ban for betting offences in England.

Former Chelsea trainee made 17 appearances for Dundalk during the 2017 season and was part of the side that qualified for the final of the Leinster Senior Cup before losing to Shelbourne.

He made his debut for the Blues during Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Sligo Rovers at the Markets Field, playing 90 minutes in midfield.

“We are delighted to have Conor on board,” said Limerick manager Tommy Barrett.

“He is a good signing. We have a light squad and when a player of Conor’s ability becomes available it is great to be able to have him. Hopefully he can kick-start his career again from here.

“He is a good midfielder. He is technically very good and energetic, and we believe he can chip in with some goals as well.

“We’re looking forward to working with him. He will come into contention straight away.”

Clifford played schoolboy football with Crumlin United before signing for London club Chelsea as a 16-year-old in 2008.

He captained the Blues to a FA Youth Cup win in 2010, scoring the winning goal in the final against an Aston Villa team featuring containing Ireland underage internationals Derrick Williams, Daniel Devine and Samir Carruthers.

Following his release from Chelsea in 2013, Clifford spent time with Leicester City, Southend United, Barnet and Boreham Wood before joining Dundalk in January 2017.

In October, the Dubliner pleaded guilty to charges of gambling on football to the English FA and was issued with a six-month ban by the FA, which was extended worldwide by FIFA

A Dundalk statement said: “These events took place during an unhappy period of Conor’s time in England.

“The club have assisted Conor throughout this process and will continue to provide appropriate support.

“Dundalk Football Club fully supports efforts to maintain the integrity of the sport to ensure that players and officials do not place bets on any matches.”