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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Mark McCadden

'I should have put my ego to one side and come home earlier', says Bohemians' Adam McDonnell

If Adam McDonnell is playing with a smile on his face these days, it’s because he is happier than he has ever been in his career.

He is back among his family and friends for the first time in nine years, after spells in England with Ipswich, Aldershot and Boreham Wood, and a year-and-a-half with Sligo Rovers.

And the Bohemians midfielder is enjoying the comforts of home.

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“I am loving every minute of it,” he said of his time so far at Dalymount Park. “Living back at home is another reason why it’s so enjoyable.

“I was over in England for seven or eight years and it was great going over there as a 17-year-old.

“The 10 games I played at Shelbourne (in 2014) before I went helped me a lot, because I wasn’t going over as a young academy player, I knew what it meant to play men's football.

“I had a great time in England, but I needed to come home, so I went to Sligo and that was a great year-and-a-half for me.

“Liam Buckley signed me and he gave me the freedom to enjoy football and play with a smile on my face.

“Russ (John Russell) took over and we went on a great European run.

“But I probably tried to force it over there, I should have put my ego to one side and come home earlier.”

McDonnell made five first-team appearances for Ipswich Town, and was a regular in the National League with Aldershot and Boreham Wood.

“That was a very good standard and I could have stayed there for another two years. I had a couple of offers, but coming back here was the best decision I could have made.

“Playing football and living back in Dublin is the happiest I’ve been. England isn’t the be-all and end-all.

“I think sometimes people might be afraid to come back, but it’s the best thing I’ve done in my career.

“I’m back at home, living with my old fella, and my girlfriend lives in Dublin. When I was in Sligo, I would be back every week for a day or two.

“But I’m back at home now and I’m delighted. I used to miss out on the little things, the lads or the family doing things, and these are the sacrifices you have to make.

“You still have to make sacrifices as a footballer, but I’ve got everyone around me again.”

Having played in the National League for four years, McDonnell watched the Welcome To Wrexham documentary with great interest.

And he kept tabs on this year’s push for promotion between the Welsh side - owned by Hollywood stars Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds - and Notts County.

Wrexham claimed the one automatic spot, while County went up to League Two via the play-offs.

“I would have played Wrexham eight or 10 times and they would have been mid-table or near the relegation zone,” recalled McDonnell.

“But they still had 5,000 or 6,000 fans at their games.

“In my four years in the National League, we were in the play-offs for three of them.

“It’s such a hard league to get out of. It’s mentally so tough. I was watching things this season and thank God Notts County got up.

“They finished with 106 points, it would have been disgraceful if they didn’t get promoted.”

He added: “The National League is a very big, physical league and it’s a lot more direct than the League of Ireland. Here, teams play with certain styles.

“There are 46 games in the National League and it’s every Saturday and Tuesday, so there are a lot of scrappy games.

“Here, there is more of a game-plan and teams have certain patterns. The league over there is very good, but coming back to the League of Ireland is the happiest I’ve ever been.

“I’m delighted I came back.”

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