Sligo Rovers announced a triple signing on Monday as Dundalk star striker Ronan Murray moved to The Showgrounds on a two-year contract and Kyle Callan-McFadden and Regan Donelon renewed for 2019.
Ronan Murray joins Sligo Rovers as one of the outstanding players in the division, winning the double with the Lilywhites last year and previously top-scoring with Galway United.
He said in The Showgrounds this morning: “Sligo Rovers has always meant something to me. It’s my closest club, I have friends that attend games, that play for the team and it is special to me. I’m not here to play in a team struggling.
“I’ve signed with a view to be a big part in taking the club towards former heights. I don’t think it will be overnight. It’s a two-year project at least certainly and that is why I’ve signed for that period because I believe in it.
“It’s not rhetoric or saying it for the sake of it. I’m really happy to be a Sligo Rovers player at last and more than anything I’m excited. I’ve always wanted to play here.
“The Sligo Rovers I used to hear about from David Cawley, Gary Boylan or from people in Mayo were the great years for the club.
“The 2012 league, the FAI Cups, The Showgrounds packed out. The long-term plan is to get the club at least near that. It’s a clean slate and we’ve a manager here who has a terrific track record of not just winning but of playing a brand of football that a club like Rovers love.
“He is enthusiastic and he is bringing energy early on, you can see that today from the other lads.
“At my age I suppose I’ll be one of the most experienced players. I guess I bring that.
“What I can say is I take a lot from my time at Dundalk. I was part of a dressing-room that was exemplary, that had leadership and dedication and showed younger players how to operate and how to look after themselves and be totally dedicated to football.
“I’d like to have that influence here as well and pass that knowledge on.
“My message to the Sligo Rovers fans is I can’t wait to be a home player in The Showgrounds, it has been a while coming and I’d really hope they get behind the club because I firmly believe we can build something again.”
Liam Buckley: “It’s a fantastic start to bringing in new faces here. Ronan is a terrific player, he has proven that at Galway, Dundalk and his time in England. We’re absolutely delighted to have him here.
“There aren’t too many players in the league with a proven record of scoring, and certainly that are out of contract. It’s no secret that many clubs were chasing him.
“We’ve done well to get Ronan here, and from speaking to him I think he is really hungry to achieve things with the club which is important too.
“He believes in what we’re trying to do. He can compliment all of our attacking play.
“It’s an ongoing process to bring in the players we want. It’s extremely competitive. We’re doing
everything we can. The supporters can be assured of that.
“I hope it shows what we’re trying to do, if we can. The more they get behind us, be it season tickets, whatever, the more we can bring in quality players.
“I’ve been in the job a few weeks and I’m looking for patience early on and to get behind us from the very first whistle next year.
“I want to make The Showgrounds a nightmare for opposition teams to come and I want players that excite our supporters. They can play their part.”
Regan Donelon and Kyle Callan-McFadden have signed new contracts with Sligo Rovers for the 2019 season.
Ronan Murray, Mitchell Beeney. Ed McGinty, Patrick McClean, John Mahon, Jack Keaney, David Cawley, Kris Twardek, Liam Kerrigan, Niall Morahan and Luke MacNicholas are already under contract at The Showgrounds and this duo makes further progress for Liam Buckley.
Regan Donelon: “I’m really happy because I think something very positive is happening here. My main aim for 2019 is to start well, have a long extended run in the team, stay injury-free and find my best form.
“It’s as simple as that to start with. I think it’s a great move by the club to bring Liam Buckley here as manager. I’ve met him and he has told me what he wants from me and what he thinks I can do.
“I’ve had five seasons as part of the senior squad and some people might forget that I’m only 22. I have a lot of experience for a player of my age and each season I feel I’m developing.
“There was some disruption this year so my target is to be hugely consistent in 2019 in playing matches and doing well.
“It is absolutely critical for us that we get off to a good start and it would make us stronger for the whole
“It has been a while since we’ve had it. That is what we are looking to do. We want to be better and it’s up to all of us to achieve that.”
Kyle Callan-McFadden: “I’m delighted to be here again next year. I spoke to Liam and it was great first and foremost to be in his plans. His arrival has given everybody a real lift and it’s a fresh start.
“I don’t think I found the form I showed in 2017 last year. There were interruptions and I found it a shock at first playing right-back when I filled in there because I hadn’t featured there in my career.
“Ironically I thought I was only getting to grips with it in the really late part of the season.
“It was a tough year for the club with the home form in mind. I’ve got a job on with Paddy McClean and John Mahon already signed here and I’m sure more defenders will come in. I want to get that position at centre-half, like the two lads will do.
“The three of us actually get on really well funnily enough and we’re in competition. I think we all have that desire within us to be the best centre half and push the club on.
“The conversations I’ve had with Liam excite me, you get to learn what he demands from the players so it’s my responsibility to show him and be a big influence here. I know I can be that and I can’t wait for the new year to begin.”
Manager Liam Buckley: “It’s a positive move to retain Kyle because I think he has many attributes to be a great defender.
“He wants to do well and show why we have that faith in him. I think the supporters know how good Kyle can be and we’ll work with him to get the best out of him.
“There is some good competition in there now at the back.
“Regan is maturing with every season and again I think that experience is adding to his game. We’ll look to direct him towards the way we want the team to play and we’re very happy he is going to be part of things here.”