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Hoops' new boy Fenn denies wrongdoing over 'retirement'

STRIKER Neale Fenn has dismissed suggestions that he acted improperly by signing for Shamrock Rovers, just days after announcing his retirement after a spell at Dundalk, writes AIDAN FITZMAURICE.

Fenn could make his debut for Rovers against former club Bohemians tomorrow, but the move to Tallaght Stadium has been a controversial one, with Dundalk yesterday stating that they would ask the FAI to investigate the circumstances of Fenn's move to Rovers.

Dundalk agreed to release Fenn and cancel his contract as he had planned to retire, but the player changed his mind after an approach from Rovers, following Fenn's player registration being cancelled.

But the player had today denied any wrongdoing. "The situation is that, for reasons which were mutually beneficial to the club and myself, it was agreed last month that my contract would be cancelled. At that stage I had not been contacted by any other club and had intended to retire," Fenn said in a statement issued through the PFAI.

"However, shortly after it became public in the media that I had been released, and was therefore a free agent, I received a call from Mr Michael O'Neill, who offered me an opportunity I could not turn down.

"I have always had the utmost respect for Dundalk Football Club and their supporters and I am disappointed that any adverse allegations are being made. I am happy that I have always acted properly, fairly and within the rules of the association."

Dundalk's patchy form, meanwhile, continued at Oriel Park last night where they were held to a 1-1 draw by UCD.

The Lilywhites have been in freefall since losing to the Students in May, but manager Ian Foster freshened his team up by handing first starts to Dean Bennett and Irish underage star Daniel Kearns.

Matthew Tipton almost got them off to a great start, heading against the bar in the 11th minute, but it was their insecurity at the back that again cost them dear when Chris Mulhall danced his way into the box to shoot past Peter Cherrie just shy of the half-hour mark.

Tipton was at the heart of the home side's best moments in the game and he drew Dundalk level in first-half stoppage-time.