Drogheda hopes hit by Webb's shock departure
IRISH football has been rocked by the news that Drogheda United's Simon Webb will not return to play for the Eircom League champions and has effectively retired from football.
One of the League's most respected and successful players, Webb did not appear on Drogheda United's training ground as the pre-season kicked off this week and Paul Doolin has confirmed that the 30-year-old is unlikely to feature in a claret and blue shirt again.
When asked whether Webb will return for the Boynesiders, Doolin replied "I doubt it", before expressing his respect for the decision of the left-back.
"He went away at the end of the season and he wanted a break, just like all of us do, but the last couple of years have been difficult for Simon and I respect his decision because he is a person after all, not just a footballer."
The Mayo-born man who began his career as a Tottenham trainee is reported to have embarked on a holiday in Brazil and has decided not to return.
Webb tragically lost his wife Anneli in 2006 after a battle against cancer and having returned to play an influential role in Drogheda claiming their first Premier League title last year, the 30-year-old left-back has decided to hang up his boots indefinitely.
"I've only spoken to him on the phone," continued the Drogs boss. "And with everything that has happened he may not have the same love for football anymore and I understand that."
Webb is highly regarded as the best left-back in domestic football and won two Premier league titles and an FAI Cup with Bohemians before moving to Drogheda, with whom he won two Setanta Cups and another league title.
The addition of Irish man Joe Kendrick Jnr on the PFAI's list of available players, meanwhile, indicates that the left-back may well be in line to take over Simon Webb's berth at United Park.
Kendrick, a former Newcastle United trainee who most recently played for Conference North side Workington, was on a trial at the Boynesiders last year and could well return as Drogheda seek a replacement for Webb.
Elsewhere, Cork City manager Alan Mathews has denied the widespread reports that George O'Callaghan has already signed for the club, although he did admit "a few approaches are now further down the line". Rumours have been spreading that the Ipswich man has made his return to the Rebels and although the move has not yet reached the final stages, O'Callaghan is expected to join Mathews' side soon.
Dunfermline loanee Danny Murphy has also been tipped for a return to Turner's Cross, while Dave Mooney's expected transfer is nearing completion.
UCD and Irish U21 goalkeeper Darren Quigley has reportedly been at the end of a bid from Stephen Kenny and Derry City.
The Eircom League's newest entity Sporting Fingal, meanwhile, are close to signing former Bray Wanderers and Dundalk goalkeeper Steve Williams.