Is to be ap­pointed

The Argus - - SPORT -

pany an­nounced be­fore Christ­mas that they were bring­ing their seven year as­so­ci­a­tion with Dundalk FC to an end.

How­ever, a ‘land­mark’ two-year deal was ne­go­ti­ated over the Christ­mas break which en­sures the club will con­tinue to wear the Fyffes logo on their jer­seys next sea­son.

Fyffes manag­ing di­rec­tor Gerry Cun­ning­ham said: ‘We are im­mensely proud of the back­ing we have been able to give to Dundalk FC and to see how valu­able it has been in help­ing the club achieve the high level of suc­cess they have en­joyed in re­cent years.

‘Our strat­egy of re­view­ing all Fyffes spon­sor­ships is one that remains in place and will con­tinue to ap­ply across the board, in­clud­ing our spon­sor­ship of Dundalk FC. How­ever, when the Club’s ex­cit­ing plans for the forth­com­ing sea­son were shared with us, our de­ci­sion to con­tinue what has been an ex­ceed­ingly suc­cess­ful spon­sor­ship be­came very com­pelling. For that rea­son, we look for­ward to be­ing one of Dundalk FC’s big­gest sup­port­ers as they em­bark on the chal­leng­ing task of de­fend­ing their League and Cup ti­tle.’

Dundalk FC chair­man Mike Treacy added: ‘We are thrilled to re­new our part­ner­ship with Fyffes for the next two sea­sons. NEW Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth is hope­ful of re­tain­ing the ser­vices of club cap­tain Stephen O’Don­nell in 2019.

The mid­fielder, who turns 33 next week, was a no­table ab­sen­tee as the play­ers re­turned to Oriel Park for the start of pre-sea­son train­ing at the week­end.

How­ever, Perth says hav­ing O’Don­nell on board for next sea­son is a goal and hopes to have him back in the fold sooner rather than later.

‘As as­sis­tant man­ager, he was the one player I would have been very, very close to,’ he said of the Gal­way man.

‘My­self and Stephen have a real mu­tual re­spect and a good work­ing re­la­tion­ship. I’ve been on the phone to Stephen on and off, we’ve had a cou­ple of meet­ings and he has met the club. It’s very, very close to a de­ci­sion be­ing made in the next five or six days but I want Stephen O’Don­nell in­volved in our club 100%. He knows that and he is aware of that.

‘My ini­tial thought is that he will be but we have to get all of that signed, sealed and de­liv­ered over the next cou­ple of days.

‘Ob­vi­ously Stephen got mar­ried at the back end of last year and then had his hon­ey­moon so he was away in South Africa. There has been a lot go­ing on in the back­ground and all of that has prob­a­bly de­layed it not be­ing done late last week but I’d like to think we’ll be able to do some­thing to­gether.’

An­other ab­sen­tee at the week­end was Karo­lis Chve­dukas, who played a lim­ited role last sea­son due to an ankle prob­lem that even­tu­ally saw him go un­der the knife in Lon­don to­wards the end of the year. Perth re­vealed he has given the Lithua­nian in­ter­na­tional ad­di­tional time to re­cover but said he had high hopes of him mak­ing an im­pact this sea­son.

‘Karo­lis worked so hard in the off-sea­son and was here most of De­cem­ber so I gave him an ex­tra day or two off,’ said Perth.

‘He’s get­ting closer to fit­ness. He was in with Danny Miller for most of De­cem­ber so we just felt it was right to give him a lit­tle bit longer be­fore get­ting him back in. If we can get him fit now af­ter his op­er­a­tion, we think he has a big part to play now this year.

‘Hope­fully that sort of sec­ond sea­son syn­drome in Dundalk works for Karo­lis and I think there’s a player in him,’ he said.

Sam Byrne is an­other con­tracted for 2019 but is un­der­stood to be close to a trans­fer away from Oriel Park hav­ing be­gun pre-sea­son train­ing with Bo­hemi­ans.

Fol­low­ing Dy­lan Con­nolly’s de­par­ture to League One strug­glers AFC Wim­ble­don last week for an undis­closed fee, Perth ad­mit­ted that new faces were needed to com­plete the squad. He said the club were cur­rently mon­i­tor­ing ‘seven or eight play­ers’ but in­sisted he did not know how many would be signed.

‘There’s no real num­ber or set ex­act amount of play­ers. We have to strengthen the squad and we’re go­ing to strug­gle to get any­one else from Ire­land at this stage but we’re prob­a­bly view­ing seven or eight tar­gets at the mo­ment.

‘We could get them all or we could get one of them so it all de­pends where that num­ber falls but we do need to im­prove the squad.’

The two new ar­rivals so far, Aaron McCarey and Dano Kelly, were both present on Sat­ur­day. McCarey will add com­pe­ti­tion in goal with Gary Rogers while Perth said he had high hopes that Kelly could hit the ground run­ning fol­low­ing his ar­rival from Bo­hemi­ans.

‘Dan has a bit of ev­ery­thing. He’s tech­ni­cally very good. Ob­vi­ously his pace is a real as­set. Be­tween him and Sean Gannon, the two lads from Ringsend, it’s like Shel­bourne race­track with the two of them go­ing up and down. Sean has re­ally looked af­ter him like a big brother so it’s a good com­bi­na­tion but he can also play cen­tre for­ward.

‘It means we’ve two recog­nised strik­ers al­ready and a num­ber three in terms of a cen­tre for­ward. Our squad at the mo­ment isn’t deep enough so that gives me real op­tions.

‘I think Dan can play any­where in the front three but he’s a young lad get­ting his first shot at full-time foot­ball so it’s go­ing to take him a while. A lot of peo­ple talk about sec­ond sea­son play­ers with us. I don’t think it’s go­ing to take him that long to get go­ing but he could score 10 goals in the first 10 games or he could be a bit-part player. It’s all up to him but he’s one of those play­ers who has a real hunger to achieve some­thing in foot­ball and that gives him a real chance.’

Fol­low­ing Sam Rice’s de­ci­sion to em­i­grate to Aus­tralia, Perth has added David Mur­phy to his back­room panel while a fur­ther ap­point- ment is ex­pected in Hig­gins’ for­mer op­po­si­tion an­a­lyst role.

Perth said: ‘ We brought in David Mur­phy, who will work with Danny Miller. He would have worked with Read­ing and Colch­ester acad­e­mies.

‘There will be one more ap­point­ment to the staff made over the next cou­ple of days to Ruaidhrí’s old job. It might take a week or so but I’m go­ing to make an ap­point­ment in that. We put a lot of weight on that po­si­tion. We’ve al­ways al­lowed that per­son to be a big, big part of the management set up in terms of how to play against op­po­si­tion so it’s an im­por­tant role and one we’ve been tak­ing our time be­fore we will but it’s very close to that be­ing done,’ he said.

Mean­while, kit man Noel Walsh has also been made full-time by the club.

Stephen O’Don­nell’s fu­ture with Dundalk remains in doubt.

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