McCarthy has Atletico Madrid trial as Harney signs for St Pat’s
FORMER Athlone Town defender Brian McCarthy has been attracting much national interest this week, after completing a week-long trial period with leading Spanish top-flight club Atletico Madrid.

The 22-year-old, who lives in Barrymore, Athlone, spent last season with Longford Town, but recently linked up with the Spanish giants after acquiring the services of Spanish agent, Alvaro Blasco, a Dublin-based solicitor whose expertise includes all aspects of Spanish law and sports representation.Speaking to the ‘Westmeath Independent’ about his experience at the Vicente Calderón, McCarthy said he’s “delighted” to have sampled football in Spain but is unsure if anything else will materialise with the Madrid outfit.

“I recently linked up with Spanish agent Alvaro Blasco and Atletico Madrid contacted him about players in Ireland. It was fantastic to get a week-long trial over there and it was an amazing experience. I trained with Atletico’s second-team and it was very tough. The standard of football over there is far more technical. It’s very different from here and was something I enjoyed,” said McCarthy, who is currently doing pre-season training with League of Ireland Premier Division side Galway Utd.

“I felt I coped well and the coaches there said they were delighted with me.

They said they’ll be in touch with Alvaro but if nothing ever comes of it, I’m just as happy playing in Ireland,” he added.

McCarthy, who has also played for Bohemians and Cobh Ramblers (on loan), confirmed Athlone Town are interested in signing him for the upcoming League of Ireland season.

“Athlone have been in touch, along with a number of other clubs, so I’m just weighing up my options at the moment, and will probably make a decision on who to join in the next week or two,” McCarthy said.

However, he revealed re-joining Longford Town is not one of his options. “Longford have a new manager in Tony Cousins and he has his own ideas. I won’t be going back there,” he said.

McCarthy said that a couple of Premier Division clubs in Ireland are also chasing his signature.

He expects to play for Galway Utd in a couple of pre-season friendlies over the next few days and is looking for regular first-team football this season.

“I played 30-plus for Longford last season and just need to be playing regularly at this stage of my career. I just want to play and be a first-choice centre-half,” said McCarthy.