The big movers this week in the SSE Airtricity League were the clubs in the North West with Derry City, Finn Harps and Sligo Rovers all starting to shape their squad for the Premier Division next year. Derry were first out of the blocks as they announced a triple signing. Goalkeeper Peter Cherrie joins from Cork and is expected to replace the long-serving Gerard Doherty who is expected to leave the club. Cherrie also had spells with Bray Wanderers and Dundalk.
After helping Harps to promotion this year defender Ciaran Coll has decided to cross the border and sign for Derry and he is joined by another defender in Ally Gilchrist who had been with Shamrock Rovers last season. Before that the young Scot had played with St. Johnstone, Edinburgh and Elgin City. Manager Declan Devine also announced that Jamie McDonagh would be staying on with the club for 2019.
Rovers announced that John Russell has been appointed as the club’s new assistant manager and will also be registered as a player. Russell who has had two spells at the Showgrounds before also played for Liam Buckley when he was in charge of St. Patrick’s Athletic. His is a popular appointment and he will provide a good link with all branches of the game in the region as he works for the FAI in Sligo as the regional development officer.
Also signing on for 2019 is Bermudan international Dante Leverock who was most recently with Narva Trans in Estonia and also had a spell with Ilkeston. Leverock is a centre-half and another defender signed in Johnny Dunleavy who joins from Cork. The right-back who is a native of Donegal joins after a six-year spell with the Leesiders which saw him win both the League and the FAI Cup. Rovers talented young local defender John Mahon impressed many in his first full season and has caught the eye of clubs across the water with rumours that Derby have made a bid.
One player definitely leaving the Showgrounds is winger Caolan McAleer who has re-joined Harps. The Ballybofey were very active last week as they announced that Sam Todd who had been on loan with them from Derry last season had signed a permanent deal and they have also brought in Daniel O’Reilly and Sam Verdon from Longford Town. Nathan Boyle, Gareth Harkin, Mark Timlin and Mark Coyle have all re-signed for another season at Finn Park.
So Cherrie and Dunleavy have left Cork who were last season’s runners-up and also departing Turner’s Cross is Damien Delaney who agreed to a mutual termination of his contract. He joined his local club in July after a successful spell with Crystal Palace. Another player expected to move on is Kieran Sadlier who is heavily linked with a move to Doncaster Rovers in League One.
Cork’s Sean McLoughlin is also been linked with a move to Doncaster but is under contract and would command a fee. Cork are beginning their rebuilding process as they have brought in goalkeeper Tadhg Ryan from Galway United and retained the services of John Kavanagh and Shane Griffin from last season’s squad. Still no word on a new manager for the champions Dundalk but they did announce during the week that midfielder Robbie Benson has signed a new contract.