Bad news for Ma­hon as top names seek new pas­tures

Drogheda Independent - - SPORT - MAR­CUS CAVAROLI

PETE Ma­hon has be­gun the process of putting to­gether a Drogheda United squad for 2018 but is do­ing so in the knowl­edge that most of last sea­son’s squad have al­ready ex­pressed a wish to leave.

Fif­teen out-of-con­tract play­ers, many of them reg­u­lar starters this year, have placed them­selves on the PFA Ire­land web­site’s trans­fer list as they put them­selves in the shop win­dow for a new club, per­haps hop­ing to re­main in the Pre­mier Di­vi­sion.

The news scup­pers the man­ager’s stated hope of per­suad­ing at least a dozen mem­bers of the 2017 panel to stay with Drogheda, with only eight of the squad that fin­ished the Pre­mier cam­paign seem­ingly open to con­tin­u­ing their ca­reers at United Park.

Most or all of those are play­ers who Ma­hon would have wanted to keep - Thomas Byrne, Stephen McGuin­ness, Dave Mulc­ahy, Conor Kane, Stephen Meaney, Mark Doyle, Jamie Hol­ly­wood and sub goal­keeper Harry Ho­gan.

How­ever, he will be dis­ap­pointed to see last sea­son’s top scorer Chris Mul­hall (top) on the trans­fer list, while prom­i­nent play­ers such as Sean Bren­nan (cen­tre), Luke Gal­lagher, Colm Deasy, Stephen Dunne, Adam Wixted (bot­tom), Jake Hy­land, Richie Purdy and Ryan McEvoy are also in­cluded along with Shane El­wor­thy, Kevin Far­ragher, Sean Rus­sell, Jack Bayly, Ryan Master­son and the long-serv­ing Lloyd Buck­ley.

The man­ager also con­firmed that vet­eran for­mer in­ter­na­tional star Stephen El­liott has re­turned to live and play in the UK, and that Gavin Bren­nan and Ciaran McGuigan won’t be on his radar for 2018.

Ma­hon re­acted to news of the want a ways with a mix­ture of dis­ap­point­ment and res­ig­na­tion, and the sit­u­a­tion means he will have to act quickly in the com­ing weeks to put a squad to­gether.

‘I’m a bit sur­prised that 15 play­ers are on the open trans­fer mar­ket ex­press­ing a wish to join a new club,’ the man­ager be­gan, speak­ing on Sun­day evening.

‘I can un­der­stand in that they’re not con­tracted, but I'm kind of dis­ap­pointed that some of the play­ers who are on the list I had al­ready spo­ken to and they had ex­pressed a wish to stay in Drogheda.

‘Ini­tially I was an­noyed, but when I thought about it there’s no af­fil­i­a­tion to a club now and play­ers just come and go. The younger play­ers I’m more an­noyed about be­cause be­cause I gave them a chance aand I thought they should hhave come back to me first, bbut that’s the way life is.

‘I’m es­pe­cially pleased that Stephen McGuin­ness and Dave Mulc­ahy aren’t on the [trans­fer] list. Stephen is a vvery, very good keeper and Mulc­ahy is very im­por­tant to us be­cause of his ex­pe­ri­ence, his pres­ence and he is so pos­i­tive to­wards the sit­u­a­tion.

‘Peo­ple talk about age and it does get to a stage where it be­comes an is­sue, but he seems to be a bit of a freak inn that he de­fies logic in the way he just keeps play­ing and play­ing and look­ing af­ter him­self.’

Hav­ing spent a short break iin Spain last week, Ma­hon now faces a race against time to be­gin putting to­gether a squad, with the new sea­son due to be­gin on Fe­bru­ary 16th and pre-sea­son train­ing likely to start in the first week of Jan­uary.

‘I was hop­ing to speak to play­ers be­fore the end of the sea­son and to be in a po­si­tion to of­fer terms, but I did speak to the chair­man on Sat­ur­day and now I have to try and get my fin­ger out and do some work,’ he con­tin­ued.

‘The sea­son was only over two weeks ago, but a lot of clubs have been very busy, es­pe­cially Cork, and it’s a very, very short break. Af­ter the next cou­ple of weeks we’re into Christ­mas, we’ll be train­ing in very early Jan­uary and the play­ers will have to have their gym pro­grammes be­fore that.’

The younger play­ers I’m more an­noyed about be­cause I gave them a chance and I should they should have come back to me first, but that’s the way life is.

Pete Ma­hon will have to re-build his Drogheda United squad for the First Di­vi­sion.

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