Rhys Marshall set for Irish Cup home farewell as Glenavon ace lines up full-time transfer to Shamrock Rovers

Rhys Marshall on duty for Glenavon. Pic by INPHO.
Rhys Marshall on duty for Glenavon. Pic by INPHO.

Rhys Marshall will sign off on his Irish League career on Saturday before completing a move into full-time football with Shamrock Rovers.

The 24-year-old is set to join up with the League of Ireland outfit on Monday following an Irish Cup farewell at home to Coleraine - having rejected a contract extension with Glenavon.

Marshall had been linked with moves to Linfield and Larne given his reputation as one of the Irish League’s most talented players since rising from the Glenavon youth ranks.

“Rhys has consistently told both myself and the chairman that he would be leaving at the end of this season in the hope of finding full-time football in another league,” said Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton on the club website. “He had stressed that whilst he would not sign an extension to his current Glenavon contract he had no wish to join another Irish League club.

“We had offered him an enhanced four-year contract back in August which included a testimonial in the final year - unfortunately Rhys turned it down.”

Glenavon chairman Adrian Teer described the offer as “a sensible and acceptable financial deal with Shamrock Rovers given that we were faced with losing the player for nothing this summer” and considered Marshall as “well deserving of a wonderful send-off on Saturday”.

Shamrock Rovers head coach Stephen Bradley described Marshall on the club website as “young and hungry” who “fits what we do here and he has lots of good attributes”.

“The board is naturally very disappointed at losing a player of the calibre of Rhys,” said Teer. “However, the directors fully appreciated his long-term ambition to enter full-time football and the move to the League of Ireland and Shamrock Rovers at the age of 24 provides him with the perfect opportunity to do so.

“He has given our club outstanding service...Rhys will go with the very best wishes of everyone at Glenavon.

“Furthermore I would stress that, should his career path ever take him back to the Irish League, Rhys will always be most welcome to rejoin his hometown club.”

Bradley confirmed Rovers’ long-standing analysis of Marshall.

“He’s played a lot of games for someone so young,” said Bradley. “Myself, Stephen and Glenn have watched him for quite some time and we obviously made contact with the club to see if a deal could be done and thankfully it could be.

“I’m delighted to get him in.

“He was really keen as soon as we met him to make it happen.

“He can’t wait to get started and we’re looking forward to getting him in.

“He can play in a number of positions – right-back, centre-back, centre-midfield and I’ve seen him play left-back as well.

“That’s something we look at when we’re signing players.

“He strengthens us as a team and a squad so it was a no-brainer.”