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Busy day as St Pat's re-sign defensive duo for 2018 and welcome Ireland U19 striker

Lee Desmond and Michael Barker have committed for the 2018 season, while Thomas Byrne joins from Drogheda United.

Lee Desmond is signed for 2018.
Lee Desmond is signed for 2018.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

FORMER IRELAND U21 international Lee Desmond and fellow defender Michael Barker have signed new deals with St Patrick’s Athletic.

Meanwhile, Ireland U19 Thomas Byrne has joined the club from Drogheda United having impressed in his first season in the League of Ireland Premier Division.

22-year-old Desmond’s contract was due to run out at the end of the year but the defender has been rewarded for his stellar performances with the Saints, and committed for the 2018 season.

He made his debut with the Ireland U21 side against Russia in 2014, and was also involved with the set-up in 2015 and 2016.

A native of Donaghmede in Dublin, he made a name for himself through schoolboy football with Cherry Orchard before making the move across the water to Newcastle United.

He was released by the Magpies in 2013 before signing for Shelbourne.

From there, Desmond linked up with St Pat’s in January 2015 and has been a key player there since.

New signing Thomas Byrne has also played overseas at Brighton and Hove Albion.

The 18-year-old striker has been a regular with the Drogs of late and has also been involved with Tom Mohan’s U19 Ireland side.

Elsewhere, 24-year-old defender Michael Barker will line out for the Saints for a third successive season. The Dubliner has previously featured for Bray Wanderers, UCD and Bohemians.

“I am delighted to get the three lads signed up for next season,” manager Liam Buckley told the club’s official website.

“To date we have signed some really good players who know the League of Ireland. I feel the new lads will complement that, while also continuing their development as they are all still very young.

“Michael Barker finished the season very strong and stepped up in some big games for us. He has built up a lot of experience at Bray Wanderers and with ourselves in recent seasons and is still only 24 so I think he has a great platform heading into 2018.

“Everyone knows about Lee Desmond. He is a superb footballer and is one of the best young defenders in the League of Ireland. Lee had his best year for us just gone by, and there’s no reason why he cannot get better next season and help us have a great year.”

He continued: ”Thomas is a great talent.

“He has represented Ireland at underage level and I know he had other options so I am delighted he decided to ply his trade in Inchicore next year. He has great pace and is always looking to attack and create.

“He impressed in a young Drogheda team so we believe he can really hit form at St Pat’s with the group we are putting together.”

The news of three more signings comes after the club announced their fifth for the 2018 season in the form of Dean Clarke on Friday night.

They also revealed their new kit for the upcoming campaign having narrowly avoided relegation from the Premier Division last season.

- This article was first published at 15.12

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