Youths trio on the move to the Blues
Published 14/01/2017 | 00:00
It's all happening down the road in neighbouring Waterford where Swindon Town owner Lee Power has added the football club based in the R.S.C. to his list of acquisitions.
The ink was scarcely dry on our edition last week when our speculation was confirmed with the news that Paul Murphy was one of the new signings for the Blues who have appointed Pat Fenlon as Director of Football and Alan Reynolds as head coach.
We also noted that centre-half Gary Delaney, another ex-Waterford player like Murphy, was linked to a return to his old club. And this too was confirmed during the week, along with the news that Waterford native Conor 'Speedy' Whittle is also going home to play his football.
Meanwhile, the highly-rated Robin Dempsey of North End United, who was once on the books of Aston Villa, will also be seen in the blue jersey in 2017.
Another notable addition for our south-east neighbours is goalkeeper Matthew Connor who has joined from Cork City, having left Ferrycarrig Park for the Leesiders during last season. They will also be bolstered by Connor's experienced attacking team-mate in Turner's Cross, Mark O'Sullivan, and Patrick McClean who is the younger brother of James, the Republic of Ireland international.
The loss of three more players will add to the difficulties of new boss Damian Locke in assembling a squad in time for the start of the First Division campaign away to Cobh Ramblers on February 25.
So far there's seven confirmed departures since 2016: Aidan Friel (Longford Town), Lee Grace (Galway United), Chris Kenny (Sligo Rovers), Jonny Bonner (Finn Harps), and the Waterford trio of Paul Murphy, Gary Delaney and Conor Whittle.
Six players who featured at various stages last season have re-signed, namely Craig McCabe, Andrew O'Connor, Graham Doyle, Shane Dunne, Craig Wall and Eoin Porter, while John McKeown is a new arrival from Longford Town.
With so many familiar faces with Waterford, the restoration of the south-east derbies in the league after a one-year gap will be even more enticing than usual. Youths will be away to their nearest rivals on March 25, home on May 12, away again on July 7, and the hosts in Ferrycarrig Park on September 15.
They have also been drawn away to Shelbourne in the Leinster Senior Cup, having lost last year's final to Bohemians.
Meanwhile, the big difference between winning and losing was emphasised last week with the announcement of the Continental Tyres Women's National League awards.
No Wexford Youths players are shortlisted in either of the player of the year categories after a season which saw them relinquish their league and cup titles, losing heavily to Shelbourne in the latter final in the Aviva Stadium in a complete reversal of 2015.
And there's no Youths presence on the team of the season which features five from Shels, three from UCD Waves, two from Peamount United, and one from Galway.