St Pat's snap up Barker and Cawley as Buckley rings changes
St Patrick's Athletic have continued a winter of transition in Inchicore by announcing the signings of Sligo Rovers midfielder David Cawley and Bray defender Michael Barker.
Cawley is a significant addition to the Saints squad. The 24-year-old from Mayo came home from Ipswich in 2012 to sign for Rovers and spent four seasons at the Showgrounds, including a league title win at his first attempt and successful campaigns in the FAI Cup and Setanta Cup.
He wore the captain's armband for Sligo during a disappointing final year which ended with a narrow escape from relegation.
Meanwhile, Barker (22) arrives with a reasonable amount of first-team experience on his CV from stints at Bohemians, UCD and Bray.
The Saints lost their way in the final months of the season just gone, with the departure of Chris Forrester to Peterborough weakening their hand.
Uncertainty exists over the future of established quartet James Chambers, Conan Byrne, Killian Brennan and Aaron Greene. Buckley has already freshened up his midfield options by adding Graham Kelly from Bray, ex-Ireland international Keith Treacy from Drogheda and the versatile Mark Timlin from Derry.
One stalwart who is sticking around, however, is goalkeeper Brendan Clarke who has agreed to stay at the club for a 13th season. He will battle it out for a first team place with promising youngster Conor O'Malley.
Meanwhile, Derry boss Kenny Shiels says he will 'pull out all the stops' to try and keep Patrick McEleney at the Brandywell.
Dundalk are interested in bringing the talented playmaker to Oriel Park, although they would have to pay a compensation figure which, under the existing rules, would be calculated around the gross salary paid to McEleney in 2015.
"It's not an easy one because we can't compete financially with other clubs. But he's a local boy and knows Derry is a club that will look after him," said Shiels.