Dara O’Shea, on loan from West Bromwich Albion, played thirty-three times for Exeter City in 2018/19. He later became a regular for both Albion and the Republic of Ireland before returning to the top-flight when joining Burnley.
Dara joined the Baggies’ academy as a trainee in 2015 having signed from St Kevin’s Boys of Dublin. He’d previously been a Gaelic footballer and soon made rapid progress becoming Albion’s scholar of the year. A loan move to Hereford followed and his subsequent loan stint at Exeter, starting on 7 August 2018, was to provide Dara with his first taste of senior first-team football. At City, Dara was following in the footsteps of fellow Albion youth players Kyle Edwards and Kane Wilson who had each benefitted from stays at St James Park the previous season.
Dara’s senior career started with Exeter’s League Cup game at Fulham at the end of August and, after two EFL Trophy games, continued with his league bow against Port Vale on 29 September 2018. When he returned to The Hawthorns in May 2019 Dara had played 33 league and cup matches.
There appeared to be no reason to place Dara on loan again and, either side of the season’s suspension because of COVID-19, he featured regularly in the second-half of the season as Albion won promotion to the top-flight in July 2020. Dara then made 28 Premier League appearances in 2020/21 when the Baggies were relegated again after a solitary season.
By this time Dara had made his debut for the Republic of Ireland against Finland on 14 October 2020 and it was playing for the Irish, against Portugal in August 2021, that Dara suffered an injury that put him out for some time. He was back playing in February 2022 and continued his form for Albion and Ireland into 2022/23.
In June 2023, aged twenty-four and possessing 19 full cpas, Dara transferred to Premier League Burnley in a £7m deal having made 107 appearances for WBA in all competitions.