Shane Long hoping to end career in League of Ireland

The Republic of Ireland striker has expressed a desire to return to former club Cork City when he ends his playing days cross-channel
Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long has admitted that he woud like to end his playing career in the League of Ireland.

The Hull City forward moved to Reading from Cork City in 2005, before joining West Bromwich Albion in 2011, and then transferring to the KC Stadium this season. The 27-year-old believes that he could one day return to Turner's Cross. "You never know, I could be back in a Cork City shirt some day," Long told the Evening Herald.

"Hopefully I have a good few years left in me and I can keep playing at the top level, but it would be nice to come back home and play in the league in Ireland at the end of my career."

Six of the players who got a run out in Wednesday's 2-1 home defeat to Serbia were former SSE Airtricity League talents, and Long believes that they are helping promote the domestic game in Ireland. "It's great that so many lads have come through now from the league," Long said. "I think people are noticing it more than they did ten years ago when I was in the league.

 "A lot of us went over to England from the League of Ireland, went there and put our case forward. And people focus on the lads who are in the senior international squad but you have other ex-LOI lads who are doing well in the other leagues, the likes of Dave Mooney at Orient. We are all holding our own.

"Seeing Keith Fahey and Stephen McPhail coming back home to play in the league has given the whole league a lift. And hopefully a few more players will come out of the league, go to England and then eventually step up to the senior Ireland squad."