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CONTRACT: Stopper pens deal with the Blues

Keeper joins United ahead of the new season

30 July 2022

Carlisle United are delighted to announce the signing of keeper Michael Kelly on a one-year deal (with an option) this afternoon.

Kelly, 25, has been with League of Ireland First Division side Bray Wanderers as back up between the sticks this season, but was allowed to team up with the Blues at the beginning of this week following positive discussions between the clubs.

Manager Paul Simpson said: “Michael has come in from Bray this week and we’ve had him with us training for a few days just to have a look at him.

“He’s come very highly recommended, and he’s a player we’ve been looking at over the last few weeks.

“We managed to agree with Bray that he would be allowed to come here and train with us. He’s a good age, mid-20s for a keeper is great age, and he’s a decent size.

“He has a very good physical presence and it’s an area where I’ve been really uncomfortable that we’ve just had Tomas as our number one.”

“I wanted somebody in to give us a little bit more cover, and as much as Gabe [Breeze] is a very talented and promising goalkeeper, I just felt it was too early for him at the moment to be considered as a genuine number two,” he explained.

“Obviously we’ve lost Scott [Simons] with his injury, and he’s going to be out for a number of weeks. I’m really pleased that Michael’s come in and the challenge for him now is to push on.

“We’re signing him on a one-year contract, with a further year’s option for us, so he needs to show us all now that he can cope with English football.

“He’s absolutely determined to come over here and do that, he’s paid for his own flights to get here, and that’s an indication of how much he wants to make this work.

“It fits with what I want to do and hopefully he’ll prove to be a really good signing for us.”

“Without a doubt the other challenge for him is to push Tomas for the starting spot,” he concluded. “Tomas has been brought in as our number one, his shirt number tells everybody that, but I think he needs competition.

“It’s Tomas’s shirt to lose, it’s as simple as that, but hopefully it’s Michael’s to aim to win as well.”

Kelly started his career as a youngster with Cherry Orchard and Dunboyne FC. He represented Cherry Orchard at the Northern Milk Cup in 2013, where he featured in a game against Manchester United, before moving on to join Shamrock Rovers as an under-19 player.

He was part of the Rovers squad that played in the Premier Division through 2015, but he left at te end of the campaign to head to Cabinteely FC. He made 25 league appearances as the Dublin side finished seventh in the First Division.

Spells at Longford followed, ahead of teaming up with the Seagulls at the aptly named Carlisle Grounds for the start of the 2022 season.


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