Eoin Toal praises former club Derry City

Eoin Toal believes he picked the right time to launch a career in English football with Bolton Wanderers.
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The big centre-half made his long-awaited debut in last Tuesday night’s 4-1 win against Crewe in the Papa Johns Trophy, resuming a season which had begun in the colours of Derry City in mid-February.

Toal was one of only two permanent signings made by Ian Evatt this summer and the 23-year-old defender was pleased his former club gave their blessing for him to move.

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“I left there, I’d done everything, and I have a lot of respect for the people there,” he said. “The way it ended was fine, no bad blood or anything. They wished me luck and it was basically plain sailing.

Eoin Toal is loving life at Bolton Wanderers.Eoin Toal is loving life at Bolton Wanderers.
Eoin Toal is loving life at Bolton Wanderers.

“I loved Derry and I’d played there since I was in junior football, really, but it was my first full-time environment, and I was there for nearly six seasons. It was the right time for me and I think everyone over there agreed.

"I probably felt done where I was - if that makes sense. I needed to go if I was going to kick on in my career and it was too hard to say ‘no’ to a club like this. Coming to England was something I’d always wanted to do.”

Toal finished up his career at Derry in the Europa Conference qualifiers against Riga FC. Wanderers’ interest materialised at the same time but Toal tried hard to keep his excitement to a minimum.

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“I put it to the back of my head,” he said. “We were trying to get to the next stage so I tried to be as professional as I could. I wanted to keep it quiet, I didn’t want people talking about it.

"Once the manager had found out then we talked about it and he was happy for me. As soon as Bolton said they were interested I wanted to go. But I had a job to do.”

Toal hopes that success at Bolton could help him catch the eye of the Northern Ireland scouts, who are already checking up on Dion Charles and Conor Bradley.

“Definitely. Anyone would want to play international football and if the opportunity came about then I’d be delighted to do it,” he added.