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Morgan Treacy/INPHO Dundalk’s Ryan O'Kane.
# Local Lad
Highly-rated 19-year-old pens new contract with Dundalk
Ryan O’Kane has been rewarded for his fine form in recent months with a new deal.

RYAN O’KANE HAS signed a new two-year contract with Dundalk, the club have announced.

The 19-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough couple of months with the club, scoring his first goal for Dundalk in the FAI Cup defeat of Wexford in August, before finding the net in Premier Division games against St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers and establishing himself as an important member of the squad.

“I’m absolutely buzzing,” O’Kane told dundalkfc.com.

“It’s been in the air for the past few weeks and I’m delighted we’ve got it over the line.

“I think things will only get better at the club over the next couple of years and I think I will improve in this environment. I still have loads to learn and I’ll be working very hard over the winter and the off-season to come back next year and try and get better.”

O’Kane’s goal against St Pats earlier this month saw the attacker become the first local-born player to score a league goal for Dundalk since Tiarnan Mulvenna in 2013.

“When you hear things like that, it makes you burst with pride,” O’Kane added.

“When I was 14 or 15, and the team was doing so well in Europe, there wasn’t really any local lads in the team so it makes me really proud to pull on the jersey.”

“Ryan’s a local lad who has come through the Dundalk Schoolboys League and our academy and he’ll give every young player in and around Dundalk hope,” added Dundalk manager Stephen O’Donnell.

“He was telling me that all of his friends go to our games and stand in The Shed and that’s brilliant. You can’t buy those sort of feelings and emotions and it does mean that extra bit more when you have a young lad from Dundalk in the team.

“Supporters know his family, his background, his parents and his grandparents and there is a real connection and identity when he scores.

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“It’s important for us to have as much of a local input as we can but players have to be good enough and Ryan has shown that he is more than good enough.

“Ryan has far outweighed my expectations. He had a slow start to the season and went down to the U19s but he showed a great attitude, forced his way back into the reckoning with the way he was training, and has gone from strength to strength.

“He is on a crest of a wave at the minute and it was important that we got him tied down. He is a pleasure to work with. He loves the game for its purity and you can see that in the way he plays.

“The thing for him now is to keep working as hard as he can and try and improve even more over the next couple of years.”

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