By Keith Brookman
Another Autumn 2018 recruit to the ranks of the Former Players Association is Rory Gaffney who departed BS7 in the summer to sign for National League side Salford City who can boast the Manchester United Class of ’92 among their owners.
Born in Tuam, County Galway, he played for Mervue United, Limerick and Cambridge United before becoming a Gas man, joining Rovers on transfer deadline day, 26th November 2015, in a one month loan deal from Cambridge United. He made his debut in a 1-1 draw against Exeter City, at St James’s Park, two days later.
He scored his first Rovers goal in the 3-0 win against Dagenham & Redbridge on 19th December 2015.
Having made his League of Ireland First Division bow with Mervue United in a 1-0 home defeat against Athlone Town March 2009, he had registered braces against Salthill Devon, Finn Harps and Wexford Youths before a high profile move to Limerick, whom he helped secure promotion to the Irish Premier League in 2012, a season in which he was First Division Player of the Year.
Gaffney’s spell at Limerick included a hat trick in a 4-1 home victory over Bray Wanderers in August 2014, amongst his 19 goals in 50 Premier League appearances. He was Limerick’s top scorer in the 2014 season with 14 goals.
A foot injury prefaced his time at Cambridge and his League début came in September 2015 at the Abbey Stadium when, despite only playing the last nine minutes, he set up the only goal of the game against Stevenage. The following month, his first full start enabled him to score two first half goals as Yeovil Town were defeated 3-2 at Huish Park and he played the final 20 minutes against Rovers the following weekend.
Following the end of his loan spell at The Memorial Stadium, Rory returned to Cambridge on 3rd January 2016 and played for them in their match against Crawley Town on 9th January. However, he returned to The Memorial Stadium in a permanent deal on 14th January.
Becoming a firm favourite with the club’s supporters, he scored six goals in 34 league games in 2016/17 and added another seven in 39 games the following season.
In 2017/18 he scored seven goals in 42 league games, though many of those games saw him come off the bench.
In search of regular football he opted to join Salford City and appears to have settled in well with the non league, scoring regularly as they push for promotion to the English Football League.
For the sake of his career, a move was probably in his best interests. A late entrant to the world of professional football in England, he is obviously keen to play as much as possible over the next few years.
Thinks about the game a great deal and used his time off wisely, studying accountancy on a part time basis as he looked to a career outside of football when the time comes.