CARETAKER boss Darius Kierans has confirmed that he is hoping to bring Stephen Maher back to Dundalk FC.
The midfielder has been a free agent since the demise of Monaghan United and spent two seasons at Dundalk in 2010 and 2011.
Maher had been hoping to sign in time for last Friday night’s clash with Cork City but the deal has been held up by the FAI. He did play in Sunday’s friendly against a Tommy McConville XI at Oriel Park and Kierans said the club were in talks with Abbotstown officials in a bid to try and resolve the issue.
“We’re talking to Stephen”, said Kierans. “There is a third party that has come in and is willing to pay a few bob to pay players’ wages so it’s not going to cost the club anything. Stephen is a player that we would like to get in but that is between the club and the FAI at the minute.
“As far as the budget is concerned, it’s where it needs to be. We’ve managed to get 2k off it. It’s not nice to let players go but going forward, with the budget where it is and all the fundraising going on with fans, hopefully we’ll be okay until the end of the season.”
The 1-1 draw with Cork City saw three players make their Lilywhite bow. Former Drogheda United midfielder Mark O’Brien and ex-Monaghan United defender Paul Whelan started the game.
However the biggest impression was made by on loan substitute Lorcan Shannon who showed glimpses of why he is so highly rated by Shamrock Rovers.
“Lorcan is a good player”, said Kierans. “I’ve known him for a couple of years. He has just signed an 18-month contract at Rovers and we are very grateful to them for giving him to us on loan. He’ll get game time here.
“He’s quick, direct and he is a good crosser of the ball. There are a couple of aspects of his game that he needs to work on but he’s a cracking kid and I think he’ll do well.”
Shannon was previously with Home Farm before signing for Rovers in July of last year. He has three Republic of Ireland underage caps to his name, and was a key figure in the Hoops’ U19 team last season as they finished second to Cork City in the Elite Division.
Shannon played against Dundalk in their Enda McGuill U19 Memorial Cup quarter-final match back in February, a game Martin Connolly’s young Lilywhites won 3-2 after extra-time.
Meanwhile, 28-year-old O’Brien arrives having been most recently with Louth neighbours Drogheda United. Well experienced and travelled in the League of Ireland, Mark is a son of Derek, who won the FAI Cup and League Cup with Dundalk during a three-year stay in the 1970s.
A former Belvedere youngster, O’Brien joined Rovers back in 2002 and impressed to win their Young Player of the Year award two years later. He went on to play for Bohemians, Shelbourne, Bray Wanderers and Drogheda.
In 2006, he helped the Hoops to the First Division title, finishing a point clear of Dundalk, before he was part of the Shels side that lost out on promotion by a point to the Lilywhites in a dramatic conclusion to the 2008 season.
Meanwhile, central midfielder Robert Waters has left the club by mutual consent. The 21-year-old Cork native made 19 appearances, 14 from the start, this season, having arrived from UCC in February.