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New Reds boss Doherty prepares for exit of ace Connolly

NEW Shelbourne boss Kevin Doherty fears he will be unable to keep highly-rated U21 cap Dylan Connolly at the club next season as Ipswich Town line up a bid for the midfielder.

Shels have already lost one of their young stars to Ipswich in 2014 as Adam McDonnell moved to Portman Road in the summer and now Mick McCarthy's outfit are eyeing up Connolly, who previously had a trial with Manchester United and Bolton.

Connolly's stock has risen since his elevation to the Ireland U21 squad last month and the Reds' failure to win promotion to the Premier Division for next season means that he's expected to leave.

"I would love to keep him as I have worked with Dylan since the U15s at Home Farm but I know there will be massive interest in him, from Premier Division clubs here and from clubs across the water," says Doherty, who was confirmed as the Reds' new boss earlier this week.

"I will do all I can to sign him as he is a smashing talent.

"He had a great year for us with Shels last year, I have seen him develop really well and his call-up to the Ireland U21 team is great for him and it was great for the club."

Shels picked only a nominal fee for the sale of McDonnell to Ipswich and a departure for Connolly would be along the same lines while U21 cap Lee Desmond has also left, for St Patrick's Athletic, but Doherty is still working away on assembling a squad capable of challenging for promotion next season.

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Earlier this week, Adam O'Connor and Ryan Robinson re-signed with the Reds and last night U19 cap Alan O'Sullivan also agreed new terms as Doherty - at 34 the youngest manager in the club's history - gets down to work.

"We did well last season so I won't be ripping up the squad, I know that a few of our players have already had offers from other clubs but I would like to re-sign a good few," says Doherty.

"It's a great opportunity for me. Not many people get the chance to manage at the age of 34. When I started out in coaching, managing Shels would be been top of my wish-list, I didn't expect it to happen so soon but now that the chance has come, I will do all I can to make it a success. The club have been brave to go with a young coach and I want to repay that faith."


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