A huge day in the transfer market as Doona & Connolly grab the headlines - Between the Stripes daily transfer update 12/12/17
Article by Kieran Burke - @KieranBTS [getty src="663349016" width="509" height="339" tld="ie"]
It's been a busy day in both divisions with St.Patrick's Athletic, Galway United and Longford Town all announcing big deals ahead of the new season. As already reported on Between the Stripes, Longford Town have announced the arrival of Adam O'Connor, previously of Shelbourne, and you can read about that deal in full here.
Elsewhere today, St.Patrick's Athletic announced a double re-signing deal with both goalkeeper, Barry Murphy and midfielder, Ian Turner signing new deals at the club, while sensationally James Doona has switched alliances from the Tallaght Stadium and Shamrock Rovers to the "Saints"!
Irish under-18 international Doona had been linked with a move to English football, making this dramatic cross-city move all the more shocking.
Speaking to www.stpatsfc.com, "Saints" boss Liam Buckley spoke of the potential his new star possesses.
"Everyone at the club would like to welcome James into the group as we're delighted he'll link up with us for the coming season. Considering he is only 19, James has a number of appearances under his belt and he impressed on numerous occasions last year. We know that not only can he perform at this level, but he has the potential to improve as well.
"He's a talented midfielder who we feel can complement the group we're putting together. We feel he'll be a signing the supporters can really be excited about as he is a local lad as well. It is important that we retain a core group of players who can identify with the club, the local area and our supporters so we are delighted to secure James' signature for next season."
Already enjoying his second spell at Richmond Park, Barry Murphy is recognised as one of the most highly rated shot-stoppers in the league, having played for Dublin giants Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers in the past. Making over three-hundred senior League of Ireland appearances, Murphy lost the number one jersey at Richmond Park last season, following a serious shoulder injury but many will now expect the twenty-seven-year-old to regain that role next year.
Also signing back on with the "Saints" for another campaign is midfielder, Ian Turner. Arriving at the mid-way point of last season from fellow relegation threatened side Limerick, Turner made a big impression on Pats manager Liam Buckley, who had this to say on the former Cork man re-signing for 2018 when speaking to www.stpatsfc.com:
"With Ian, he came in last July and was a really positive influence on the group. We need good characters around the place like him, and he can also play in a number of positions too which will be huge for us. Going through pre-season and starting the season will be great for Ian so I am sure he will hit the ground running and really push for a place in the team."
Making a big signing today however, was recently relegated Galway FC, who announced the recapture of wanted man, Eoin McCormack for next season, while former captain Ryan Connolly has returned from a disappointing spell with Shamrock Rovers. Midfielder, McCormack was reported to be on a number of Premier Division clubs radars, following the "Tribesmen's" top-flight demise and this news is sure to be relief for followers of the West of Ireland club, who have already had to say goodbye to star men such as Ronan Murray and Stephen Folan.
As for Connolly, injuries and a subsequent loss of confidence and form led to the play-makers Tallaght exit and the midfielder is sure to be eager to prove his doubters wrong with the club he helped guide to promotion in 2014.
Adored by the Eamonn Deacy Park faithful during his previous spell, Connolly's return to the Tribe has garnered such fan-fair that the official Galway United FC website has crashed with delighted United supporters eager to read up on this evenings huge breaking news.
Speaking briefly to @GalwayUnitedFC, Connolly stated: “My best years have been with Galway United. It’s where I’ve felt happiest playing football."
With Connolly and McCormack committing to Shane Keegan's side for 2018, the bookmakers First Division promotion favorites will be hopeful more key members of last seasons squad will now also put pen-to-paper to stay with United, who were promoted via the play-offs in 2014 under the stewardship of Tommy Dunne.