Shane Tracy will play for an 11th consecutive season at Limerick FC having put pen to paper on a deal for 2018 on Saturday evening, with the hometown hero keen to “keep competing” for his place.
The versatile 29-year-old enjoyed his Testimonial in the past season having first signed for the club in 2008, and in his left-back role became a key figure in Limerick’s safe passage to SSE Airtricity League Premier Division safety.
Indeed, his sole goal of the campaign, a wonder free-kick in the 2-1 win over Cork City at the Markets Field in September was perhaps Limerick’s most crucial strike of 2017.
The former Wembley and Arsenal youngster – whose only other League of Ireland club was Galway United where he spent a short stint – has collected two First Division-winning medals with the Shannonsiders.
But with Limerick looking to establish themselves in the top flight having consolidated their place this year, Tracy is delighted to sign on once again and play his part.
“It feels good to be back for another year,” Trace told LimerickFC.ie. “We were obviously happy to secure safety last season, and now I’m looking forward to starting up again in January – it’s a familiar feeling.”
Trace says hanging up his boots from the professional game did cross his mind for a moment, but that the hunger and his competitive edge still burns inside.
“I’m working full-time too, so I had to take everything into consideration. I was always more in favour of re-signing,” Shane said.
“It will be my objective to play week in, week out – I wouldn’t have signed if I felt I couldn’t keep going and keep competing. I’ve been like that throughout my career – I want to compete, and next year will be no different.”
Still only 29, Tracy says retirement will come when the time is right but that his focus remains firmly on Limerick and helping them in what will be an extremely competitive ten-team Premier Division next year.
“I’m just going to focus on the season ahead and not look past that,” Tracy said. “It’s an old cliché but that’s all the focus is on. We will see how the season goes and not worry about anything beyond that.
“Last year, you could see the quality of the teams in the league and it will be even more competitive next season with Waterford coming up – they have investment behind them, which always helps in this league.
“But that’s what you want – you want to be playing against the better teams and in better stadiums, and you want to push yourself as much as possible.”
Manager Neil McDonald also expressed his delight at Tracy’s decision to commit to the club for yet another year, stating: “Shane has been a credit to himself and his family, representing Limerick for over ten years. He had a well-deserved Testimonial.
“Shane got himself back in the team by training really well, waiting for his chance and showing what he can do. We hope he can contribute more on the pitch next season than this year, but that is up to him.
“His attitude has been top-class and it’s great to have a Limerick player through and through in the squad.”
Top photo credit: Ivan O’Riordan.
Date: Saturday 11 November 2017