Sheppard leaves Reading

Clive Rose

Little bit of Reading transfer news earlier this weekend as it was confirmed that striker Karl Sheppard had left Reading to join League of Ireland side Shamrock Rovers, bringing an end to a disappointing two years at the Madejski Stadium.

Sheppard was possibly the last purchase of the John Madejski era, as Reading completed the deal for the promising Republic of Ireland international on a free from Shamrock in January 2012.

We profiled him here on The Tilehurst End and the reviews of his time in Ireland and with Everton as a youngster gave hope that we'd signed another Doyle or Long. Sadly he turned out to more of a David Mooney but circumstances did go against Sheppard who arrived unfit due to the Irish season ending months earlier and then suffering a few niggly injuries.

The biggest thing to count against him was the arrival of TSI and their 'millions' which saw players like Jason Roberts and Tomas Cywka immediately jump ahead of him in the pecking order, with the promotion that followed ending any realistic chance of first team football for him at Reading.

We watched Sheppard in a development side friendly at Basingstoke but even against that calibre of opposition he struggled and it was no surprise to see him out at Accrington on loan to start the season. The young striker started that well with a goal in his couple of games but then went on a spectacularly poor run that yielded no goals in his remaining nine games in League Two.

A loan spell back to former club Shamrock followed but sadly the goals didn't. He did rally to win Shamrock's young player of the season but nothing really suggested he'd be the right fit for a team hoping to win promotion in the Championship.

At 22 he's still got time to forge a successful career lower down the ladder and he can take inspiration from Dave Mooney, another League of Ireland player who failed to make the grade at Reading, who's now top of the League One goalscoring charts and is in a good position to get Championship football with Leyton Orient next season.

All the best for the future Karl!

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