Between the Stripes daily transfer update 7/12/17
Article by Kieran Burke - @KieranBTS
It's been another busy day in the LOI transfer market with St.Patrick's Athletic manager Liam Buckley working overtime to secure no less than three crucial deals this Thursday afternoon. As reported earlier today on Between the Stripes (click here for info), former Shamrock Rovers captain Simon Madden has jumped ship to join the Inchicore based club while re-signing from last seasons "Saints" squad are veteran midfielders Owen Garvan and Killian Brennan.
Playing a key role in St.Pat's survival from what would've been a first ever relegation last season, Garvan and Brennan added some much needed creativity and experience to a struggling "Saints" side who only secured their top-flight status for 2018 with a final day point away to Derry City. In fact, it was Brennan who turned home the all important first-half strike in that Buncrana showdown and the former league champion with St.Pat's is now set to link up with his brother Ryan at Richmond Park next season, following his arrival from Bray Wanderers earlier in the window.
With Michael Barker and Lee Desmond signing new deals with the 2013 league winners just twenty-four hours previous, many Pats fans are already speculating that 2018 will see a "Saints" return to the higher reaches of the Premier Division table following last seasons disappointing showing.
Also seeking a return to the top table next season are First Division side Wexford FC. While obviously a new club, having only been founded following the demise of Wexford Youths, manager Damien Locke will be eager to recreate the underdog success of the Youths when the lifted the First Division title back in 2015. While little may have been expected of the LOI rookies last season it was a disappointing campaign in truth as Wexford FC narrowly avoided finishing below crisis club Athlone Town at the foot of the eight-team division. Wexford also suffered FAI Cup humilation in 2017 when non-league outfit Crumlin turfed Locke's men out of the Blue ribbon competition.
Seeking to build the bones of his Wexford squad for a new look ten-team First Division in 2018, Locke today announced the re-signings of goalkeeper Danny Bolger plus midfielders Mikey Byrne and Dean Kelly.
In other First Division news, UCD AFC are set to lose talented young defender Maxi Kouogun to Premier Division Limerick. Named in the First Division team of the year in 2016, Kouogun has been a stand out performer for the "Students" over the course of the last three seasons. Should the twenty-year-old put pen to paper at Market Fields he will be the latest in a long line of UCD products cherry picked by clubs with greater financial resources.
Finally, former Longford Town duo Stephen Walsh and Ryan Connolly are being heavily linked with a return to Galway United. While midfielder Connolly was only a loanee at "De Town" back in 2013, Stephen Walsh made twenty-appearances in all competitions for the Midlands outfit last season prior to a mid-season move to local rivals Athlone.
Signed by the then Town boss Alan Mathews, Walsh was a regular name on the experienced managers team-sheet but soon found himself struggling for minutes due to a return to fitness for Noel Haverty and the impressive form of former Fulham youngster Daniel O'Reilly at centre-back. Unable to break up the formidable partnership, Walsh crossed the Midlands divide to Roddy Collins Athlone Town with Longford striker Enda Curran also jumping ship.
Connolly, on the other hand, was released by Shamrock Rovers at the conclusion of the 2017 campaign having only made twenty-seven appearances for a "Hoops" side that made it to an EA sports cup final, FAI cup semi-final and through one round of Europa League action. The play-maker suffered through injury and loss of form under the watch of Stephen Bradley but would be a welcome returnee in the eyes of Galway fans who saw Connolly gain promotion with the "Tribesmen" in 2014.
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