In the first of a new series profiling the Republic of Ireland’s rising players to watch out for, Kenny’s Kids takes a look at West Bromwich Albion defender Dara O’Shea.
Dara O’Shea started off at St Kevin’s Boys where the Dubliner excelled from a young age. He was then signed by West Bromwich Albion at just 16 and immediately linked up with their U18 side.
It wasn’t long before he was promoted to their U23 side where performances landed him a loan move to Southern Premier League outfit Hereford FC for the 2017/18 season. His single season with Hereford saw them win the league and reach the 2nd round of the FA Cup, losing to Fleetwood town in a replay.
The following season Dara headed out on loan again, this time to League Two side Exeter City. He played 33 games for the Grecians in their promotion-chasing season and earned himself a call-up to the Ireland’s U21 side in the process. Exeter manager Matt Taylor praised his development towards the end of the season:
“Since he’s come into the team he’s been exceptional for us. He’s still a young defender learning his game and we feel we’ve played a part in his development. He’s going to be a very good player and the international call-up is a bonus to top it off for him.”
Exeter finished one point off the playoffs and Dara O’Shea was back at West Brom for the 19/20 season. He initially made the bench a number of times and was in and out of their U23 side. It was on the 21s of December that he made his West Brom debut in a 1-1 draw against Brentford.
A month later, he signed a three-and-a-half-year deal which coincided with a run of games where he really impressed as centre back and as a right-wing back. He scored his first goal against Millwall in February but it was his Man of the Match performance against West Ham in the 4th round of the FA Cup that really caught the eye.
Now a regular with a side on the cusp of promotion to the Premier League & captain of Ireland’s strongest U21 side in years, the future for Dara is bright. West Brom manager Slaven Bilić touched off this when asked about Dara’s future:
“He is the present and the future of the club. I love Dara.”
— Dara O’Shea (@dara_oshea_) February 9, 2020
2019/20 Championship stats:
Started – 9 (10 total)
Touches PG – 64
Clean Sheets: 5
Tackles PG – 2.3
Clearances PG – 2.6
Interceptions PG – 1.9
63% of all duels won
Goal v Tottenham U18 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeEChiSqhYY
Goal v Romania U19 – https://twitter.com/FAIreland/status/963421041371598852?s=20
Goals for Hereford FC – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkiqqTYKOWg
Goal v Millwall (at the end) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcilfWftyb8