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Dundalk announce capture of experienced Lithuanian international midfielder

The Lilywhites have also handed a new contract to Georgie Poynton following his loan spell at Bohemians.

Updated Jan 8th 2018, 11:55 AM

3-850x525 Karolis Chvedukas is unveiled at Oriel Park. Source: Dundalk FC

DUNDALK HAVE COMPLETED two significant pieces of business this morning, with one new player arriving at Oriel Park and another returning after a year away on loan.

As well as announcing that Georgie Poynton has signed a new one-year deal following his season at Bohemians, the Lilywhites confirmed the signing of current Lithuanian international midfielder Karolis Chvedukas.

The 26-year-old, who has been capped 19 times by his country at senior level, moves to Dundalk from reigning Lithuanian champions Sūduva Marijampolė. Chvedukas, who also had spells with RNK Split in Croatia and Chojniczanka Chojnice in Poland, has extensive experience in European competitions.

Last summer he featured in each leg of both ties as Sūduva eliminated Swiss side FC Sion from the third round of the Europa League qualifiers, before they were eliminated by Ludogorets of Bulgaria. He has made 12 European appearances in total.

Chvedukas played five times in Lithuania’s 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, with his most recent cap coming in October when Harry Kane scored for England in their 1-0 win in Vilnius.

“I am very happy and excited to be here,” Chvedukas told Dundalk’s official website. “Today was the first training session for me and I got to see how hard the players worked. It was a very hard session and I feel it in my body. It is pre-season now so we have four or five weeks and then we will start the season and I am looking forward to it.

“I know a little bit of history from Dundalk FC and I know that they play very well. We must do very well this season and I will try to help the team do the best they can. I see all the players are a very good group and they are all very friendly so we must do a good job this season. I will try to help the team this season and I think we will do well for the year ahead.”

Soccer - UEFA Euro 2016 - Qualifying - Group E - England v Lithuania - Wembley Stadium Karolis Chvedukas in action for Lithuania against England at Wembley in a Euro 2016 qualifier. Source: Andrew Matthews

Meanwhile, Georgie Poynton is hoping to make his mark with Dundalk in 2018 after signing a new one-year contract with the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division club.

Poynton, who’s still just 20, penned his first professional deal with the Oriel Park outfit in 2014. At the age of 16, the midfielder made his first-team debut in a 3-0 win away to Bray Wanderers in the EA Sports Cup in May of that year.

Having remained on the fringes of Stephen Kenny’s side as they dominated domestically and tasted unprecedented success in Europe, Poynton was sent out on loan to Bohemians last year. He was a regular for the Gypsies as they finished fifth in the top flight.

“I’m delighted to be back,” Poynton said. “I had a good year last year and a good experience at Bohs so I’m looking to kick on this year. I’m delighted to be back at my hometown club.”

The highlight of Poynton’s time with Bohs came in July when he converted from the penalty spot at Turner’s Cross to score the only goal of the game against Cork City, which ended the Leesiders’ 26-game unbeaten run in domestic competitions.

A former Republic of Ireland U19 captain, Poynton was named Ireland’s international player of the year at that grade at the FAI Awards in 2016.

George Poynton appeals Georgie Poynton spent 2017 on loan at Bohemians. Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

Expressing his gratitude to Bohemians boss Keith Long and assistant manager Trevor Croly, Poynton said: “I had both good and bad experiences on loan last year and I think that will only stand to me going forward as a player.

“I really enjoyed my year at Dalymount Park and played the plus side of 30 games. Keith and Trevor were great to me, I haven’t a bad word to say about anyone at the club. I’m thankful for the opportunity that I got last year and I’m looking to kick on this year and hopefully I can break in to the team here.

“Obviously as a team we will want to get the league back this year and win the cup too. We want to win the double and go as far as we can in Europe because obviously a lot of us here have tasted that in previous years. Then personally for myself I want to try and break into the first-team if possible.

“It’s going to be difficult. I know that as we have some top midfielders at this club. But it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to and I can’t wait to get going.”

Dundalk begin their season by contesting the President’s Cup against Cork City at Oriel Park on Sunday, 11 February, before hosting Bray Wanderers for their Premier Division opener the following Friday.

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Paul Dollery

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