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Ireland U21 international seals Stoke move

Gavin Kilkenny has left Premier League side Bournemouth in a loan deal.

Gavin Kilkenny (file pic).
Gavin Kilkenny (file pic).
Image: Giuseppe Fama/INPHO

IRELAND U21 international Gavin Kilkenny has joined Championship club Stoke City on loan, it has been confirmed.

The 22-year-old midfielder made 18 appearances in all competitions for Bournemouth last season, but his first-team opportunities would likely have been limited at the Cherries following their promotion to the Premier League.

The Dubliner has been a pivotal player for Jim Crawford’s side, earning 20 caps in total while he is likely to be involved for their two-legged playoff with Israel in September, where progression would see the team become the first-ever Ireland U21 side to qualify for a major tournament.

Kilkenny becomes the fifth signing that former Shamrock Rovers boss Michael O’Neill has made this summer, joining fellow newcomers Aden Flint, Josh Laurent, Harry Clarke and Liam McCarron at the club.

He becomes the second Irish player in the first-team squad, with ex-underage international Jack Bonham, having made 17 appearances for the Potters last season.

Following the news, first-team coach Rory Delap told the Stoke website: “We’ve been monitoring Gavin for a few years and we’ve taken the opportunity to bring him in.

“He’s a very good player; he builds the game and that’s something we felt we needed with Joe Allen having left the club and hopefully he’ll be a really good addition and help us play the way we want to play.

“He’s highly motivated, he wants to play and doesn’t want to sit on the bench and be a bit-part player. That’s what we’ve targeted this season — players that are motivated to play, improve and make us a better team.”

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Meanwhile, Kilkenny’s Ireland U21 teammate Eiran Cashin has confirmed he is staying at Derby after Clowes Developments completed their takeover of the club yesterday.

The 20-year-old defender has signed a new contract with the Pride Park outfit that ties him to the club until the summer of 2024.

Cashin broke into the Rams’ first team last season and finished the campaign with 18 appearances to his name.

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Paul Fennessy

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