There have been a number of high profile transfers in the First Division and Bray Wanderers made another during the week. They snapped up winger Dylan McGlade from Longford Town. McGlade had been linked with a move to a number of Premier Division sides including Sligo Rovers.
Bray are putting together a strong squad as they look to get bounce back from their relegation last season. Longford did give fans something to cheer about as they have brought in experienced midfielder Paul O’Conor. He was with St. Patrick’s Athletic last season and previously had spells with Bray, Limerick, Drogheda United and Sligo Rovers.
Another side who were busy strengthening their squad were Athlone Town. They finished bottom of the league last season and failed to record a win on the pitch. Manager Terry Butler is looking to ensure that won’t happen again and he has brought in Lloyd Buckley and Gareth McCauley from Drogheda. Both of them will be a loss to the Boynesiders. John Morgan joined from Wexford FC.
Athlone have a long and proud football history and it would be great to see them have a turnaround in their fortunes. I have always had a soft spot for them and would love to see them making headlines on the pitch rather than off them.
In a coaching move, Damien Duff has left Shamrock Rovers to take up a role with Celtic. Duff was heavily involved in overhauling Shamrock’s youth set-up and had the players in training more as he looked to gear them for first-team football. He will now take charge of Celtic’s U-20’s. There he replaces Shaun Maloney who has joined Roberto Martinez in the Belgian set-up.
We finish with the sad news of the enforced retirement of Dundalk captain Stephen O’Donnell. Persistent injuries have limited his appearances in the past few years and indeed last season was cut short by a broken leg. He will be staying with the club though as he will be taking up a coaching role.
He will be the club’s senior opposition analyst and scout. Despite being only 32 O’Donnell retires as one of the most decorated players in Irish football. He won the league title with three different clubs – Bohemian FC, Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk. He has six league winners’ medals in total. He won three FAI Cups, two EA Sports Cups and one Setanta Sports Cup. He scored the winning penalty against Partizan Belgrade that qualified Shamrock for the group stages of the Europa League and also helped Dundalk qualify for the same. He will be hard replaced but should prove to be a valuable asset off the pitch for the Lillywhites.