Stalwart Bermingham sad to see Buckley depart

Liam Buckley has been confirmed as the new Sligo manager

John Fallon

St Patrick's Athletic captain Ian Bermingham insists club owner Garrett Kelleher will only placate fans by replacing "legend" Liam Buckley with a manager of similar footballing philosophy.

Buckley's seven-year stint at Richmond Park was ended on Tuesday following crisis talks with multimillionaire Kelleher amid another disappointing season.

Currently sixth in the table, the Saints will miss out on the windfall of Europa League qualification for the third campaign on the trot and director of football Ger O'Brien will oversee the final four league matches of the season.

Several names, including Pat Fenlon and Paul Doolin, have already been linked with the vacancy but, in Bermingham's eyes, the successor must retain Buckley's preference for a style that is pleasing on the eye.

"The fans loved the stamp that Liam put on the team over his seven years," said the 29-year-old, Buckley's first-choice left-back throughout his stay.

"They wouldn't like it if we started going route one. That will probably be imperative in the search by Garrett Kelleher. He'll do his research and appoint the right man."

St Patrick’s Athletic captain Ian Bermingham at the launch of the FIFA 19 SSE Airtricity League Club Packs, in the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

News of Buckley's departure came as a shock to Bermingham. Despite being well beaten 3-1 at home to a young Bohemians on Saturday, they had won their previous three games.

"It was very sad when Liam came in before training on Tuesday to tell us he was leaving," said the Dubliner.

"He had spoken to the owner but I don't know what reasons were behind it, but he'll be remembered at the club as a legend. Liam brought success back to the club which they hadn't had in a long time. He won a league, two League Cups and the FAI Cup which he'll never be forgotten for.

"And other teams in the league are only now playing with the style he brought into our club all those years ago."

Meanwhile, Stephen Kenny has refuted suggestions that Dundalk have bought their way to the League of Ireland title.

The Lilywhites are 12 points clear at the summit and have a vastly superior goal difference with four games left.

Friday week's visit of St Pat's should see the title being formally wrapped up but their ambitions of claiming a double continue tomorrow night in the FAI Cup semi-final against UCD.

"When you look at our team against Cork City last week, we hadn't taken any players from Shamrock Rovers or Cork City," said Kenny. "We had two former players from Mervue and two each from Bray Wanderers, UCD, St Pat's and Derry City.

"We hadn't taken players from any other top teams. We've taken players from lower teams and won league titles.

"I think that's been absolutely terrific. There has not enough talk about the actual football. Some of the football has been absolutely brilliant this year."

In other news, Karen Duggan has retired from international football at the age of just 27. The Kilkenny native was last year voted FAI Player of the Year but has cited work commitments as the reason for her departure.