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Five players who could be set to leave the Airtricity League

It’s that time of the year again…

Chris Forrester
Chris Forrester
Image: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

AROUND THIS TIME every year, Ireland’s top clubs prepared themselves for the departures of many of their best players.

The likes of James McClean, Niall McGinn, Keith Fahey, Kevin Doyle, Noel Hunt and Shane Long have all been enticed away from the domestic league by teams across the water in recent years and 2012 is unlikely to be any different.

Title-winners Sligo Rovers will almost certainly be targeted while clubs from England, Scotland and further afield are already eyeing up the league’s biggest stars.

1. Mark Quigley (Sligo Rovers)

The man who sealed Sligo’s first title since 1977 with his late penalty against St Patrick’s Athletic two weeks ago only joined the club at the start of the season but could soon be on the move again. The former Millwall striker claimed “signing onto the dole” so soon after the Bit O’Red’s achievements is something of a come-down as he has yet to be offered a new contract by Sligo. While Shamrock Rovers are keen, MLS club FC Dallas have invited the 27-year-old the visit the club and there could yet be interest from England and Scotland.

2. Chris Forrester (St Patrick’s Athletic)

Still only 19 years old, the Saints winger has talent to burn and scored one of the goals of the season in their 4-1 win over Shamrock Rovers. Sunderland scouts were over watching the Young Player of the Year nominee and team-mate Christy Fagan among others at the Brandywell last week.

3. Ronan Finn (Shamrock Rovers)

Former UCD midfielder Ronan Finn attracted interest from Glasgow Celtic in the past and was arguably Shamrock Rovers’ best player during what was a difficult campaign after the Hoops won back-to-back titles. At 24, it’s seems the right time to make the step up to professional football.

4. Stephen McLaughlin (Derry City)

Donegal native Stephen McLaughlin revealed that he would love to follow in former club-mate James McClean’s footsteps and make the switched to English football. Since joining the Candystripes from Finn Harps two years ago, the winger has showed he is one of the most gifted players in the league on his day and he will be keen to impress once again at Lansdowne Road on Sunday week.

5. Ryan Brennan (Drogheda United)

Two SPL clubs and an Npower Championship side have expressed their interest in the youngest of Drogheda’s three Brennan brothers, who Mick Cooke has revealed is set to spend time on trial in the coming weeks.

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Ben Blake

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