Between the Stripes LOI podcast returns with its biggest season ever!

Not only do League of Ireland fans have the return of the Premier Division to look forward to this week but also this week saw the return of the top ranked Itunes show Between the Stripes LOI podcast. Bringing you a new episode each and every Wednesday throughout the 2018 season, co-hosts Kieran Burke and Jonathan Brier kicked off last nights new season with a bumper Premier Division special.

Featuring ten guests, one from each top-flight club, the Longford duo were joined by mega names from the domestic game such as Sligo Rovers manager Ger Lyttle, Bohemians lethal front-man Dinny Corcoran and new Waterford FC midfielder Gavan Holohan just to name a few.

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Within hours of uploading Series 2, Episode 1 of Between the Stripes LOI podcast the show had smashed the Itunes charts, reaching a joint-record high of sixth position in the Sport & Recreation Itunes podcast charts.

To listen to Series 2, Episode 1 now you can use the Audioboom player embedded below. Finally, to subscribe to Between the Stripes LOI podcast on Itunes follow this link – https://goo.gl/8CweqF

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White Smoke Emerges from Athlone Town Stadium as Midlanders finally confirm 2018 squad

Article by @andrewdempsey921.

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After much recent speculation and uncertainty on how Athlone Town could potentially line out on the opening night of the season away to Galway United, we have finally been given an indication into who Aaron Callaghan’s new side may feature following the club’s announcement on their new squad which will compete in the 2018 First Division.

Having open trials in Dublin and Athlone under the stewardship of both Aaron Callaghan and Terry Butler, the 2013 First Division Winners have assembled a squad that they believe is capable of competing in what will be an ultra-competitive First Division this season.

As exclusively revealed by our very own Kieran Burke of Between the Stripes, Athlone recently confirmed the signings of former Longford Town man Aaron Brilly alongside the signing of Irish Under 18 International Darren Kavanagh, but we were left in the dark as to who else may form the Athlone’s new First Team Squad.

News has finally broken, and we now know who will make up the First Team Squad at the League of Ireland’s oldest club for the forthcoming season.

Three Goalkeeping options have been revealed as part of Town’s new squad as Michael Fogarty, Sean O’Donnell and Nathan Murphy have all pledged their commitment to the club for 2018.

The trio are all new additions to the club following the departure of Conor Gleeson to Galway United and the well-documented suspension of Igor Labut’s following a match fixing investigation by the Football Association of Ireland.

Former Longford Town man Aaron Brilly returns to the Athlone Town Stadium alongside Cormac Rafferty in defence while Felix Bape Perez, Dan O’Donovan, Ger Smyth and Bashmil Nyakambili all form the rest of the defensive options. Amazingly Perez was formerly on the books as a youth player at none other than Real Madrid!

In a stacked midfield containing no less than 16 players, including former Longford Town cult-hero Etanda Nkololo and Irish Under 18 international Darren Kavanagh, Callaghan has moved quickly to build a large midfield base to choose from. Another part of the midfield options include Joe Carmody and Ryan Gaffey who both return to the club having come up through the ranks at the Athlone Town Stadium at youth level.

Finally, the attacking trio of George Mukete, Tzee Mustapha, Martin Walshe complete Aaron Callaghan’s squad. Mukete is a former St Patrick’s Athletic Youth Player, while Tzee Mustapha joins after a spell in Northern Ireland with Carrick Rangers, while newcomer Martin Walshe completes the line-up for “Town”.

It will be interesting to see how Athlone Town fare this season in what will be the most competitive First Division in years having endured a nightmare two-year spell in the First Division with fan unrest regarding the running of the club.

To add insult to injury they have come rock bottom in their last two seasons in the First Division, marking a significant fall from grace since their hey-day of 2013 where the Lissywoolen outfit secured Promotion back to the Promised Land of Irish Football.

Athlone Town will look to kick-off their season with a bang, starting off with an away clash against recently relegated Galway United at Eamonn Deacy Park on the 23rd of February with a kick-off time of 7.45pm.

Full Squad List for Athlone Town

Goalkeepers: Michael Fogarty, Sean O’Donnell, Nathan Murphy

Defenders: Aaron Brilly, Felix Bape Perez, Dan O’Donovan, Ger Smyth, Bashmil Nyakambili, Cormac Rafferty.

Midfield: Josh Hogan, Steven Grogan, Brian Carbally, Shane Stokes, Ollie Hamzet, Craig Short, Barry Davies, Darren Kavanagh, Ryan Gaffey, Luke Kelly, Etanda Nkololo, Taigh Keogh, Robbie O’Leary, Eoin Roche, JJ Offorjama, Joe Carmody

Forwards: George Mukete, Tzee Mustapha, Martin Walshe

 

EXCLUSIVE: Brilly returns to Athlone ahead of tonight’s squad announcement

Article by Kieran Burke – @KieranBTS.

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After much speculation and questions from both Athlone and League of Ireland fans in general,  Athlone Town AFC last night revealed to Between the Stripes that manager Aaron Callaghan will reveal his senior squad for the 2018 First Division season tonight (Monday 05/02/18). However, Between the Stripes can exclusively reveal that former Longford Town and Cabinteely defender Aaron Brilly has agreed to return to the club he left for Home Farm last season.

Brilly (21), departed Athlone mid-season with the Midlands club gripped in the midst of a match-fixing scandal involving two of its foreign players, Igors Labuts and Dragos Sfrijan, who were subsequently banned for 12 months each by the FAI in a controversial case. With Athlone glued to the foot of the second tier and Brilly strangely being over looked by then manager Ricardo Monsanto on a consistent basis, the youngster decided to cut ties with the club and soon signed for Dublin based Home Farm.

Despite his tender years, Brilly is already a well traveled player in terms of the number of clubs he has represented. Starting out with Longford Town’s under 19’s in 2012, Brilly’s leadership qualities were evident long before he was named as captain of the underage side whom he would represent proudly until his departure from the club in May 2014. Having impressed Town boss Tony Cousins enough to earn a handful of senior appearances during his time with the club, it was a surprise to many Longford supporters that Brilly was shown the door by the former Galway manager.

A spell with Northern Irish Football League club Newry City was to follow before the Dubliner arrived at Cabinteely in time for their inaugural season in the League of Ireland. Brilly played in ‘’Cabo’s’’ famous opening day win over Wexford Youths and went on to make nineteen appearances for the Stradbrook club that season. Twenty-six appearances were to follow in 2016 before Brilly made the decision to join Athlone in February of last year.

Ahead of Aaron Callaghan’s squad announcement tonight it appears as if Brilly may be joined by two more former Longford Town FC players as Kaleem Simon and Etanda Nkololo both scored for the ‘‘ Blue and Black’’ in a 2-1 pre-season win over Lucan United at the weekend. Simon had only recently been on trial with Premier Division outfit Limerick, while Nkololo was a league winner with Longford in 2014 and starred for Athlone following his summer arrival at the club last season.

Michael O’Connor set for Rovers exit?

Article by Kieran Burke – @KieranBTS

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Finn Harps may be set to land a major coup ahead of the 2018 SSE Airtricity League First Division season following the appearance of Shamrock Rovers striker Michael O’Connor for the Donegal club in a pre-season friendly versus Sligo Rovers last night.

O’Connor was a shock inclusion on Ollie Horgan’s Harps team sheet in Sligo last night as the former Dundalk striker started up front for the First Division promotion hopefuls in a 2-1 defeat.

Give the fact that English League one side Rotherham this morning confirmed that they did indeed have O’Connor over on trial recently and would continue to keep tabs on the striker, the nineteen-year-olds sudden appearance in the Blue and White of Harps has shocked many. Speaking to http://www.thestar.co.uk Rotherham manager Paul Warne confirmed:

“There was interest from us. He (O’Connor) came and trained with us for a few days. He played in a behind-closed-doors game. I didn’t see enough of him in that to offer him a deal.”

“We tried to get him over again to play in our reserves but because of international football law we couldn’t. Regrettably, I just hadn’t seen enough to offer him anything. We can revisit it. of weeks so we can keep an eye on him and see how he gets on. He’s quite a feisty little kid, so I liked him.”

However, O’Connor’s appearance for Harps last night now throws doubt over the Dundalk natives Tallaght future. One suggestion is that O’Connor, who signed from Dundalk last winter, could be farmed out on loan to the First Division club as Rovers look to sign one if not two high-profile players from British football. Not only would this allow O’Connor, who played second fiddle to ex-Longford striker Gary Shaw last season, a chance for more game time but it would allow Rovers to recoup a transfer fee should Rotherham or any other club come calling for O’Connor, who was linked with moves to both Cardiff City and Burnley last season.

O’Connors Shamrock Rovers team-mates are currently in Portugal for the pre-season Atlantic cup competition. Should a deal be struck between the ‘’Hoops’’ and Harps it would see Michael O’Connor reunited with his brother Ciaran, who made the decision to leave Dundalk in the off-season.

 

 

 

 

Dundalk complete loan deal for Krisztián Adorján

Article by Kieran Burke – @kieranBTS 

Dundalk FC have completed perhaps one of the most eye catching and surprising deals in recent years with the arrival of former Liverpool midfielder Krisztián Adorján on loan from Italian side Novara.

The twenty-five-year-old, who has experience in England, Italy, Holland and Albania, is a former Hungary under-21 international and played for the League of Ireland side in a pre-season draw against Chinese side Shanghai Shenxin yesterday as part of Dundalk’s Spanish training camp.

Starting his career at MTK Budapest, Adorján signed for English Premier League giants Liverpool in 2009 but failed to make a senior appearance in his four-years at the Merseyside club. Loaned out to Eredivisie outfit FC Groningen, Adorján played 19 times, scoring 3 goals before securing a permanent transfer to Italian Serie B side Novara.

He made 39 appearances for the Italians before another loan move, this time to Albanian side FK Partizani in 2017, where he made 9 appearances. 

With a combined total of twelve caps at underage level (under 19 and under 21) for Hungary, Adorján has been on the fringes of the senior national team and arrives to Irish football with a high pedigree. Having already signed senior Lithuanian international Karolis Chvedukas early this off-season, Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has an embarrassment of riches to choose from in midfield at Oriel Park despite the loss of star man Patrick McEleney to Oldham.

With another friendly to take place in Spain ahead of the Presidents Cup curtain raiser at Oriel Park in ten days time, Dundalk fans will soon get the opportunity to see their new man in action ahead of the 2018 Premier Division opener at home to Bray Wanderers on February 14th.

Krisztián Adorján has signed a deal which will see him play his football with the 2016 Europa League participants until the July 2018.  

BREAKING: Ogbene completes Brentford switch

Article by Kieran Burke – @KieranBTS.

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Image via Brentfordfc.com

Chiedozie Ogbene‘s brief yet immensely impressive spell in League of Ireland football came to an end this morning with confirmation of the twenty-year-old’s transfer to Brentford from Limerick for an undisclosed fee.  Continue reading

Ogbene set for Brentford switch

Article by Kieran Burke – @KieranBTS. 

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With the January transfer window soon set to shut, Limerick FC fans hope of holding on to star asset Chiedozie Ogbene ahead of the 2018 SSE Airtricity League season had begun to increase, however the twenty-one-year-old’s future now does indeed seem to be away from the Market Fields with Brentford agreeing a fee for the midfielder. According to Limerick Leader reporter Andrew Cunneen, the London club have agreed a fee with Limerick and Ogbene is currently over with the “Bees” to complete a medical.

If the news of Ogbene’s impending switch wasn’t enough for Limerick’s loyal followers, Cunneen also revealed some worrying updates on the futures of Barry Cotter and Henry Cameron.  Continue reading