Conor Sammon (born 6 November 1986) is an Irish footballer who currently plays as a striker for English Championship club Derby County.
Sammon started his career at League of Ireland Premier Division side University College Dublin. In 2008 he signed for Derry City and one season later he moved to Scottish Premier League club Kilmarnock. In January 2011 Premier League side Wigan Athletic signed him for £600,000. In August 2012, Championship side Derby County signed him for £1.2 million. In February 2013, whilst at Derby, Sammon was capped by the Republic of Ireland for the first time.
Sammon started his career with Cherry Orchard. He then signed a scholarship deal with U.C.D. ahead of the 2005 season.
Sammon scored a hat trick in the Harding Cup Final in February 2005. On 8 April 2005 he made his League of Ireland debut as a substitute at Turners Cross (stadium). However his first league goal did not come until exactly one year later when he netted a brace against Bray at Belfield Park.
The clubs fans humorously dubbed him Sammon of college, before a number of impressive performances saw him snapped up by fellow League of Ireland side Derry City in December 2007.
His single goal knocked Derry City out of the 2007 FAI Cup with a deft near post finish at the Brandywell.
Despite not being able to hold down a regular first-team place at the Brandywell, Sammon attracted interest from a number of Scottish clubs who had been made aware of his potential by former Candystripes manger John Robertson.
After a short trial, Sammon signed a three-year deal with Kilmarnock in July 2008 for an undisclosed fee, and made his debut on 9 August 2008 in a 10 win against Hibernian. He scored his first goals for the club on 24 September 2008, scoring a brace in a 42 Scottish League Cup win against Aberdeen. Sammon struggled in his first two seasons at the club, scoring just seven times in all competitions.
In the 201011 season, his record was more prolific, scoring 18 goals in 27 games. In January 2011, Sammon turned down a move to Scunthorpe United after Kilmarnock had accepted a bid for him. Derby County were also interested in the player.
On 31 January 2011, Sammon signed a three and a half year deal with Wigan Athletic for an undisclosed fee, believed to be worth an initial £600,000, after he turned down a move from Derby County.He made his Premier League debut on 5 March in a 10 defeat against Manchester City. On 15 May 2011, Sammon scored his first goal for Wigan in a 32 win against West Ham United. On 22 May 2011, Sammon made his first Wigan start in a 10 win at Stoke City, a result which retained Wigans Premier League status.
In the 201112 season, Sammon failed to score in 27 appearances. On 26 December 2011, in a game at Manchester United Sammon was sent off for catching the face of Michael Carrick with his elbow which was judged as "harsh" by the BBC. Wigan appealed the decision, with manager Roberto Martνnez saying, "Conor did nothing wrong. You need to accept punishment when you do something wrong but this is a normal phase of play." The appeal was successful.
In July 2012, Sammon was again linked with a move to Derby County. A fee of £1.2 million was reported to be agreed by both clubs on 12 August 2012.
On 20 August 2012, Sammon joined Derby County on a four-year contract. Derby manager Nigel Clough said of Sammon, "He is going to be a key player for us and when he plays regularly, we know he can score goals. We really like how hard he works too and that means he will fit into our squad comfortably." Sammon made his Derby debut in a 20 defeat to Bolton Wanderers on 21 August 2012 and scored his first goal for the club in a 51 win against Watford on 1 September 2012. After only scoring twice on his opening seventeen games for the club, Sammon was criticised by fans for a lack of goals, however Clough said he was happy with Sammon, stating the his work-rate was keeping him the starting line-up ahead of Nathan Tyson who had a better strike rate. Sammon, though scored three times in the following four games, including two in a 32 win against Birmingham City and Sammon put this improvement of form down to regaining confidence. Sammon started 2013 with two goals in the opening two goals of the game, however he went on a ten game goal drought and fans became frustrated with his performances after missing a penalty in Derbys 10 home loss to Crystal Palace on 1 March. In the next game however he scored his eighth goal of the season in a 11 draw at league leaders Cardiff City. In an interview with the local press after the Cardiff game, Sammon expressed frustration at his lack of goals but belief in his ability to score more despite the negative chants from the crowd. In Derbys game at Leeds United on 1 April, Sammon took a penalty on 73 minutes with Derby losing 10 however he missed the penalty striking the post before Paul Coutts scored on the rebound, Derby eventually won 21. Sammon also had a goal ruled out for offside at 00. Sammon ended an eleven match goalless streak (9 for Derby, 2 for Ireland) with an 85th minute winner against Millwall on the final day of the season. It was only Sammons 3rd league goal of 2013. However, despite the criticism from supporters Sammon was named the 61st best player in the 201213 Football League Championship by the Actim Index.
In 201314, Sammon will face competition from Chris Martin, Johnny Russell and Jamie Ward for a starting place.
Sammon earned his first call up to the Republic of Ireland U-21s for the qualifying game against Portugal U-21s on 7 September 2007. He played for the under-21s on three occasions, and also represented the under-23s in a match against Slovakia. On January 2013, Sammon was called up to the senior squad for the first time to play in a friendly against Poland on 6 February. A day ahead of the match, Irish coach Giovanni Trapattoni named Sammon in the starting eleven and he played the full 90 minutes in a 20 win for Ireland at the Aviva Stadium. On 22 March 2013, he made his competitive debut in the 0-0 draw away to Sweden in a World Cup qualifier, coming on as a substitute after 87 mins. Sammon made his first competitive start, in the following game on 26 March; playing the full 90 minutes in Irelands 22 draw at home to Austria; playing a part in winning the penalty and corner kick for both of Jonathan Walters goals.