Brighton & Hove Albion have completed the signing of Republic of Ireland under-19 international Warren O'Hora from Bohemians. The 18-year-old Dublin native has signed a deal with the Premier League club that will take him up until June 2020.
O'Hora has been hugely impressive at Dalymount Park following his move from St Kevin's Boys, going on to captain the under-17 and under-19 sides before breaking into the senior team to make 11 appearances the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division last season.
"It's been a really enjoyable few years at the club," O'Hora said after sealing his switch to Albion. "I want to thank all the staff and fans for their support during my time at the club. I've loved my time at Dalymount.
"In particular I want to thank [Bohemians manager] Keith Long for giving me my chance to play first-team football. Playing first-team football was very physical and much quicker than under-19s football. I felt that I adapted well to it and learned a lot.
"I also owe a lot to Jimmy Mowlds who signed me for the under-17s and to Graham [Lawlor] with the under-19s. Everyone at the club have been great for me."
According to reports earlier in the week, O'Hora was also a target for English Championship club Norwich City but he would seem very happy with his decision to aim as high as he possibly can.
“We all want to make it as professional footballers in the Premier League, so it helps to be at a good training ground with excellent surroundings every day. I just can’t wait to get started, get into the U23s, get in the gym and work hard every day. Hopefully I can do well and play in the Premier League at some point.
“I’ve met a few of the lads already, there’s a few Irish boys here already and I’ve played with some of them at international level. The team are great and made me feel right at home straight away. Knowing people from home makes it a bit easier.”
O'Hora (left) in action against Galway Utd last season - ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson
Long fully believes that O'Hora can be a huge success in England.
"Warren's accomplished a lot in his few years with us. He has shown level of ability, maturity and mentality beyond his years and was a consistent performer for us in the second half of last season in a key position. He took the step-up to first-team football in his stride.
"Moving to a club in the Premier League at such a young age is obviously another huge step for him but I believe he has the ability to progress to that level. It's a testament to his own ability and hard work but also to the work Jimmy has done at U17 level and that Graham is doing with our U19s that the club is producing players of his calibre."
Albion have confirmed that O'Hora will go straight into their under-23 side, currently placed sixth in Division Two of Premier League Two, and the team's coach Simon Rusk liked what he saw when watching his new player on trial.
“We’re pleased to secure the services of Warren, after he impressed during a couple of training sessions before Christmas. He’s had some good experience playing in Ireland’s Premier Division last season, and he’ll certainly add to the competition we already have in central defence. We’re delighted to welcome him to the club and are keen to contribute towards his continued development as a footballer.”