Dundalk players pictured at pre-season training in DkIT Sport. Picture: Ciaran Culligan
Dundalk's preparations for the 2017 campaign got underway on Monday afternoon when the players were put through their paces by Graham Byrne at DkIT Sport.
New signings Conor Clifford, Jamie McGrath, Niclas Vemmelund and Sean Hoare all took part, as did David McMillan and John Mountney, who have both committed their future to the league champions.
“Sligo were keen to sign John and there was interest from Cork
Clifford's transfer from Boreham Wood was confirmed after the session. The
After playing with Richie Towell and Andy Boyle at Crumlin United in his teenage years, Clifford moved to England and was the
“I am delighted to have signed with the club," said the midfielder. "I spoke with Stephen Kenny and things went well so I can’t wait to get started. I trained with the lads earlier today and enjoyed it.
“Stephen was massive in my decision," he added. "I like the way that the team played last year and he has done great things with Dundalk. I am looking forward to playing under him so I am happy to be here. “
Kenny, who is also hoping to complete a move for Everton winger, Stephen Kinsella in the coming days, is hoping that Clifford can rejuvenate his career at Oriel Park.
“Conor was in the same Crumlin United team as Andy Boyle and Richie Towell when he was younger and he has sort of lost his way a bit in recent years,” said Kenny.
“The two lads we signed at the weekend, Niclas Vemmelund and Jamie McGrath, along with Sean Hoare, are not the most high profile of additions but they will bring the age profile of the squad down,” he added. “Clifford is 24 and Kinsella
The Dundalk manager is still intent on bringing former Derry City star Michael Duffy to the club but the 22-year-old still has one-year remaining on his contract with Celtic. Another winger, Thomas Goiginger, who plays with FC Blau-Weiss Linz in the Austrian second tier, has been mentioned but Kenny dismissed that link.
One department where he is is not looking to strengthen any further is in attack with David McMillan and Ciaran Kilduff set to battle it out for the centre-forward position.
“People have this opinion that we need a centre-forward but we have David and Ciaran, two players who play in one position, and they contributed 34 goals last season.
“That's an incredible return, especially when you consider that Ciaran was injured for big parts of it. You might, on a rare occasion, get that with two strikers up front so they've done very well.
“It's a unique situation when you have two players who combine well, get on well and work so hard with each other. I've never had that before.
"You get more than the sum of one and that's very unique and it shouldn't be overlooked in terms of our success over the past few years.”
The 45-year-old also paid tribute to Gerry Spain, the Lilywhites assistant manager who left the club last week after four years on the backroom staff.
“Gerry travelled the length and breadth of the country doing detailed reports for us over the past four years. He was an integral part of the backroom staff. Whatever he chooses to do we wish him well with it.”
Meanwhile, Dundalk General Manager, Martin Connolly, has confirmed that the club