Twitter/ColeraineFC Dooley in the Coleraine shirt.
# homebound
Cork City lose one of their key players to Coleraine
Winger Stephen Dooley has left the double-winners, it has been announced this evening.

NORTHERN IRELAND FOOTBALL LEAGUE (NIFL) Premiership leaders Coleraine have announced the signing of Stephen Dooley.

The 26-year-old winger became an important player for Cork City since joining John Caulfield’s side in January 2016. Dooley made over 50 league appearances and helped the Leesiders win the FAI Cup in his first season before clinching the double this year.

However, it has been announced this evening that he has signed for his former club on a six-month deal with the option of a further year.

Dooley began his senior career at Coleraine as a teenager in 2007 and played for three seasons before moving to the US on a football scholarship. He also spent two years at Derry City prior to joining Cork.

The Premier Division champions have now lost Dooley and Greg Bolger (Shamrock Rovers) since the end of the season, but they have brought in Barry McNamee, Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Josh O’Hanlon, Colm Horgan and Aaron Barry in recent weeks.

Captain Alan Bennett, Karl Sheppard, Steven Beattie and Garry Buckley have all re-signed for 2018 too.

“We are disappointed that Dools is moving on but, at the same time, I was aware over the last few months that he had expressed an interest in moving closer to home,” said Caulfield. “I understand Coleraine are his hometown club and he has friends involved in the club there, so I was always aware that it was an option he was likely to explore.”

We obviously brought Kieran Sadlier in during last season, while Karl Sheppard, Steven Beattie and Jimmy Keohane have all signed back as well, so we do have options in wide areas despite Dools moving on.

“We wish him well, he was a vital part of the team and had two fantastic seasons here. He leaves with an FAI Cup and a double winning season behind him. We are disappointed that he is leaving, but he has given us two fantastic seasons and we wish him all the best.”

Dooley tweeted this message to thank his team-mates and the City fans:

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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