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Ian Bermingham lauds Saints owner Garrett Kelleher for ‘taking bull by the horns’ after exit of Stephen O’Donnell

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Ian Bermingham with some family members and the FAI Cup after St Patrick's Athletic's victory over Bohemians in the final. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Ian Bermingham with some family members and the FAI Cup after St Patrick's Athletic's victory over Bohemians in the final. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Ian Bermingham with some family members and the FAI Cup after St Patrick's Athletic's victory over Bohemians in the final. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

St Patrick’s Athletic captain Ian Bermingham says owner Garrett Kelleher has “taken the bull by the horns” on player recruitment after the shock departure of Stephen O’Donnell for Dundalk.

Bermingham admitted the dressing-room was stunned to learn of O’Donnell’s exit just 48 hours after the FAI Cup win but says it’s time to move on.

However, he says that Kelleher has responded by taking a central role with new deals for Bermingham and skipper Chris Forrester swiftly announced, although new boss Tim Clancy has faced competition for several other players.

Long-serving Bermingham admitted the fear after O’Donnell’s exit was the loss of squad members who would have been otherwise expected to stay.

“I found out when everyone else did,” said Bermingham. “The fear is that we could lose a few players. We didn’t think what was going to happen would happen but the owner has taken the bull by the horns and he is pushing to get lads in.”

Meanwhile, Sligo Rovers are facing up to the likelihood of losing teenage star Johnny Kenny.

The striker was a guest of Hibernian at their league game with Dundee on Tuesday, but Celtic remain keen on the Ireland U-19 international who signed a three-year deal in November with a €150,000 release clause.

Dundalk defender Dan Cleary is joining St Johnstone on a free, while Damien Duff paid tribute to the Shelbourne board after they agreed a deal with Drogheda for left-full Conor Kane.

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