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21 December 2006

Shaun Holmes

Name: Shaun Paul Holmes
Born: 27 December 1980, Londonderry
Height: 5.09 ft
Weight: 10.07 st
Position: Left-Back/Midfielder

Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 1 Full Cap (2002), 1 B Cap (2003), 13 Under-21 Caps (2000-2001); Under-18; Under-15.
Club Honours: (with Wrexham) Football League Division Three Third 2001/02 (promoted); FAW Premier Cup Winner 2002/03, 2003/04; (with Glentoran) Irish League Champion 2004/05; Irish League Cup Winner 2004/05; Runner-Up 2005/06.

Club Career:
FA Cup
FL Cup
Manchester City
0 (0)/ 0
55(28)/ 2
49 (7)/ 9
Derry City
Finn Harps
2007 – 2008
Sligo Rovers
17 (0)/ 2
33 (1)/ 0
Shaun Holmes arrived in England with Manchester City from Boys Club football in his native Derry. Capped by Northern Ireland at under-15 and under-18 level, his early progress with City was promising, and he signed as a professional at seventeen. Capable at either left-back or as a creative midfielder, Holmes graduated to Roy Millar’s Northern Ireland Under-21 squad in 2000 (Millar having previously coached him at Youth level).

Holmes made his Under-21 debut in a 2-1 friendly win over Malta in March 2000, played in the end-of-season Triangular Tournament, and was a regular through the 2000-2001 European Championship qualifying campaign. A spate of withdrawals forced Sammy McIlroy into using Holmes as a substitute for the Full international squad late in the 2000/01 season, but it wasn’t until the Sammy McIlroy ‘Celebration’ Match, against Macclesfield in November 2001, that Holmes made his debut for the 'senior' side (though no caps were awarded for the game).

In the summer of 2001, just one year into a two-year contract with Manchester City, Holmes saw no way of breaking into the first-team, and new manager Kevin Keegan agreed to release him. In stepped Wrexham’s Brian Flynn, who captured Holmes’ signature in Manchester Airport as the player returned from international duty in the Czech Republic. He was a regular in the Red Dragon’s first eleven as they battled unsuccessfully against relegation to the Third Division in 2002.

When Wrexham bounced back at the first attempt, gaining promotion by finishing in third place, Holmes was mainly used as a substitute. He was also limited to a place on the bench as the FAW Premier Cup was won with a 6-1 defeat of Newport County. It was a similar story for Holmes the following season as the club consolidated their place back in the Second Division, and come the Premier Cup Final Holmes was once again left on the bench, as Rhyl were defeated 4-1.

In June 2004 Holmes was released by Wrexham, and with little interest from other Football League clubs, he returned to Northern Ireland on a three-year contract with Glentoran. In his first season at the Oval, Holmes made great use of his dead-ball skills and accurate crossing to create chances for team-mates, and he weighed in with a total of ten goals himself as the League title and CIS Cup were won. The following season was one of upheaval for the Glens, long-time manager, Roy Coyle resigning after a run of bad results and behind the scenes arguments, as they finished runners-up to Linfield in the League, Irish Cup and League Cup. It was perhaps Holmes role as an unused substitute in the Irish Cup Final that confirmed he wasn’t in new Glens’ manager, Paul Millar’s long-term plans, and he was made available for transfer a few weeks later.

Holmes announced his departure from the Oval in July 2006, just as Glentoran were due to fly to Norway for a UEFA Cup clash with Brann Bergen – he had started in the first leg! Having secured his release, Holmes signed for his hometown club, Derry City. At the Brandywell Holmes struggled to find a place in a team that was half-way through the season, and he played no part in Derry’s UEFA Cup run (he was cup-tied), or in the FAI Cup/League Cup ‘Double’ winning finals. With Stephen Kenny's resignation from the Candystripes’ hot-seat to take charge at Dunfermline Athletic, Holmes found he was not part of new boss, Pat Fenlon’s, plans and was released at the end of the 2006 season. He was quickly snapped up by Finn Harps in something of a coup for the Ballybofey outfit. Holmes moved on again in February 2009, joining Sligo Rovers prior to the beginning of the season. That August, after just six months with the Bit O'Red, Holmes was released and shortly thereafter signed for Institute.
Northern Ireland Cap Details:
27-03-2002 Liechtenstein. A D 0-0 FR sub

Summary: 0(1)/0. Won 0, Drew 1, Lost 0.

Northern Ireland B Cap Details:
20-05-2003 Scotland...... A L 1-2 FR sub

Summary: 0(1)/0. Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 1.

Northern Ireland Under-21 Cap Details:
28-03-2000 Malta......... A W 2-1 FR
29-05-2000 Scotland...... H D 1-1 ITT
02-06-2000 Wales......... H D 2-2 ITT
01-09-2000 Malta......... H D 1-1 ECQ
06-10-2000 Denmark....... H L 0-3 ECQ
10-10-2000 Iceland....... A W 5-2 ECQ
23-03-2001 Czech Republic H L 0-2 ECQ
27-03-2001 Bulgaria...... A L 0-2 ECQ
01-06-2001 Bulgaria...... H D 1-1 ECQ
05-06-2001 Czech Republic A L 0-4 ECQ
31-08-2001 Denmark....... A L 0-2 ECQ
04-09-2001 Iceland....... H L 1-3 ECQ
05-10-2001 Malta......... A D 2-2 ECQ

Summary: 13/0. Won 2, Drew 5, Lost 6.

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