Derry City's Mark Connolly speaks of his joy at being reunited with his family after eight months on the road

MARK Connolly has been on the road for eight long months plying his trade for four different clubs during that time but finally the Clones native has a place to call home.

The 30-year-old Derry City defender has been outstanding for the Brandywell club since arriving on Foyleside during the summer transfer window.

He's fitted in seamlessly to his new surroundings since his permanent move from Dundee United but being away from his wife and two young kids has made the transition a challenging one.

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On Sunday night, however, he greeted his excited seven and three year-old kids who touched down at Dublin airport, ready for a new beginning in the maiden city.

"They've moved over officially on Sunday," he beamed. "So I've been looking forward to that."

Admittedly it's been a 'rollercoaster' journey for Connolly but things are looking up with his kids finally getting the chance to watch him play against Finn Harps at Brandywell on Friday night.

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"I've been looking forward to them coming back and we have a few big games coming up now where they can be there. So that's been on the back of my mind."

Connolly has represented four clubs since running out for Dundee United last September before completing loan spells at Dunfermline and Dundalk.

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Mark Connolly's two children Ora and Rohan get their first look around the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

His six month stint at Oriel Park ended in July and having made his intentions to move closer to home clear, Ruaidhri Higgins pounced to bring to the Lone Moor Road.

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Playing alongside various players, adapting to different styles and cultures under four different managers in two different countries certainly wouldn't be without its challenges.

Signing a two-and-a-half year deal, Connolly now has stability and can now concentrate on his football with Derry with his family by his side..

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"I was sitting last week thinking to myself, it's been eight months since I moved over to Dundalk on loan. I've been away from the kids and wife for eight months and it's been tough.

"It's something I wanted to do, move back home and be closer to my family but I didn't think I would be away from my own family and my kids for eight months. That has been really tough but I can see the finishing line now.

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"I was speaking to Mickey Duffy and Conor Loughery recently about this, I've played for four teams in the last year which is actually crazy when you think about it.

"I played for Dundee United at the end of September against St Mirren. I went on loan to Dunfermline and stayed there for a few months. Then I went to Dundalk and played there for six months and now I'm at Derry. So it's been a bit of a rollercoaster of a year. Last night I was literally thinking, It's been an experience. You're going into different dressing rooms, you're playing in different systems , you're playing with different players and coaching staff who have different ideas and everything."

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So it's back to the school runs every morning before training in the Derry traffic but it's a small sacrifice to have his family back.

"I'm just looking forward to getting settled. I can't wait to get a routine with the kids. Waking up in the morning and bringing them to school and having them all settled and having a life again.

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"You're kind of living out of a suitcase and it's been young. Especially the kids, I've been away from them too long now. They're seven and three and kind of need to have their father around. So I'm glad to have them back!"

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