Lilywhites left local-less as Grimes and O’Connor depart Oriel Park

Article by Kieran Burke Dethroned League of Ireland champions Dundalk have been left without a local player in their senior ranks following the departures of full-back Shane Grimes and striker Ciaran O’Connor.

Having been out on loan spells at Finn Harps and Bohemians this past season, O’Connor follows his brother Michael out the Oriel Park exit door, albeit in far more pleasant circumstances compared to Michael’s transfer to bitter rivals Shamrock Rovers last season.

As for Grimes, the former Drogheda United defender will now naturally be linked with a move back across the County Louth divide as the ‘’Drogs’’ look to replace a number of key players who have left United Park in recent days thanks to the clubs relegation last season. Having helped defunct Monaghan United to promotion in 2011, Grimes would bring a welcome wealth of experience to a Drogheda side lacking in leadership for the entirety of last season.

While Grimes was rarely called up during his time with Dundalk he did manage to capture league titles in 2014, 2015 and 2016 as well as an FAI Cup and Leinster Senior Cup while the defender started this season League Cup success versus Shamrock Rovers, his second league Cup triumph with the Lilywhites.

Similarly, O’Connor was also a bit part player during Dundalk’s unprecedented run of success in recent years. Breaking into Stephen Kenny’s set up during the 2013 campaign, O’Connor was loaned to Warrenpoint and then Derry City impressing for both. Upon returning to the Lilywhites in 2016, O’Connor made five first-team appearances with his debut coming against Longford Town in April as the youngster collected a league medal.

In January 2017 the striker went on a six month loan to Donegal based Finn Harps. O’Connor scored 5 times in 14 games during his loan spell which saw him then to the disappointment of the Harps faithful sent to ‘’Bohs’’ to gain more Premier Division experience. Minutes proved hard to come by at Dalymount with Ismail Akinade and Dinny Corcoran leading the Bohemians line but none the less there are sure to be many suitors for the promising youngster.