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McKenna re-signs after successful first year at Shelbourne

Shelbourne F.C. have retained the services of teenager Daniel McKenna for the 2020 season.

Following an impressive 2019 season, the club recently announced the former Wolverhampton Wanderers player has signed on the dotted line upon the clubs return to The League of Ireland Premier Division for the first time since 2013.

Despite being just 19 years of age, McKenna enjoyed some fine performances throughout the 2019 season, helping Shelbourne gain promotion. Daniel is relishing the opportunity to compete against all the big teams next season, especially the fellow Dublin based clubs, referring back to the First Round FAI Cup clash between themselves and Bohemians back in August, a titanic battle in which Bohemians emerged victorious following a 3-2 victory.

“It’s going to be amazing. Thinking back to the game we had against Bohs recently, I think there was nearly three thousand at the game. The atmosphere was nothing short of unbelievable.”

“So to have another three of four outings against them next season to look forward to, along with Shamrock Rovers and St Pats’ games, it’s what’s been missing from Shelbourne and I’m sure the fans are really looking forward to it as well,” said the youngster.

McKenna joined the Drumcondra based outfit in February of 2019, just a week before their season opener against Galway United. Prior to the move, the Dubliner has a club history and a roll of honor which would make it hard to believe that he is still just a teenager. The midfielder started

 off his playing days with Belvedere FC and remained with the club until he was 16.

McKenna emerged  as one of the shining lights in Irish underage football and was snapped up by Wolves in July of 2015, amid interest from several other clubs. The young footballer took a pragmatic approach in regards joining Wolves, despite admitting he’d come “very close”

 to signing with both Aston Villa and Everton prior to this.

“Wolves were in the Championship at the time, having just been promoted from League One. Everton and Villa were in the Premier League at the time, so I just felt personally to progress and hopefully get into the first team, Wolves was the best place,” he said.

Throughout his time at Molineux, the midfielder would go on to represent Ireland at underage level from U15 to U19 level, captaining the team along the way. McKenna insisting captaining Ireland, is “obviously the proudest thing you can do”.

Following on from short loans with Bray Wanderers in 2018 and a short stint with English National League side Telford FC, Wolves released McKenna to Shelbourne as a free agent back at the start of this year. There was no quandary for McKenna, the player insisting he had no hesitation in joining

Shelbourne, a club he holds in high regard.

Speaking of his initial decision to move to Tolka Park, he said: “I knew the type of club Shels were, possibly one of the biggest clubs in Ireland and to come home to them, knowing they were going to challenge for the First Division, and to get game time there was something I was really looking forward to.”

In an interview earlier in the year at the beginning of the season, Daniel expressed his desire to win the First Division with Shelbourne, and that he did. He said: “That was my aim the minute i knew i was going back linking up with Shelbourne.

“I’d have some exposure to the league and I’d heard about some of the players Shels had in. Winning the league was the minimum i wanted to achieve. So to do that,  having not won anything major before, was unbelievable.”

Fast forward eight months with a successful first season in the tank, McKenna is re-signed, hungry and eager to prove his value in Ireland’s top flight come next season.

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