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Five Players To Watch Ahead Of The Start Of The First Division Season

With the Airtricity Premier Division up and running following the first round of fixtures on Friday it is now time for fans to turn their attention to the first division which begins this week.

Although sometimes the league does not get the coverage it deserves, there are still a whole host of extremely talented players on show in the division.

Here Pundit Arena looks at five players to watch ahead of the start of the first division season.


1) Thomas Byrne – Drogheda United

After a year away from United park, the extremely talented Thomas Byrne has returned to help Drogheda United’s push for promotion this season.

The 20-year old showed flashes of brilliance during his spell in the Premier Division with St Patrick’s Athletic but had a tendency to let ill-discipline get the better of him.

If Byrne can focus on his own game, the former Brighton man has already proved that he can be one of Irish football’s most gifted prospects.

He could be pivotal for Tim Clancy’s side this season.


2) Dylan McGlade – Bray Wanderers

An outstanding get for last season’s Premier Division basement club, Dylan McGlade is unquestionably a  talent capable of playing at the top level.

The creative midfielder was one of Longford Town’s standout players last year and found himself nominated for the Player of the Year as well as deservedly making the Team of the Year.

McGlade’s ability to change games when he gets on the ball could be a massive asset as Bray look to bounce back to the top flight on the first time of asking.


3) Aodh Dervin – Longford Town

With the likes of Shelbourne, Bray and Drogheda all expected to be strong this season, Neale Fenn’s Longford will need a big season from their young midfielder Aodh Dervin.

At just 19 years of age, Dervin impressed in the middle of the park for Longford during the last campaign and is one of the best young players in the division when on the ball.

Losing the creativity of McGlade will hurt Fenn’s side but in Dervin they have another young star who is ready to continue his progression at Strokestown Road.


4)  Ciaran Kilduff – Shelbourne

The Dublin club have made their intentions clear during the off season, bringing in a plethora of quality as they look to gain promotion back to the top-flight.

One of their best signings may turn out to be the vastly experienced Ciaran Kilduff who arrives at Tolka Park following a spell in America with Jacksonville Armada.

The 30-year old is a serial winner in Irish football and has come up from this division before with UCD back in 2009.

Kilduff could end up being an incredible bit of business if he can help fire Shelbourne back to the Premier Division.


5) Conor Kane – Drogheda United

Another young star at United Park, left-back Conor Kane was one of Tim Clancy’s side’s standout players in what turned out to be quite a solid campaign for the Drogs.

A strong defender and a very dangerous attacking asset, Kane’s tremendous displays last season rightfully earned him a spot in the Team of the Year.

At just 20-years of age the young left-back has been gaining plaudits from both Ireland and across the water but for this season he could be key to Drogheda’s push for promotion in their 100th year in existence.

Author: Oisin McQueirns

Oisin McQueirns is a digital journalist at Pundit Arena. Massive fan of Leeds United, Ric Flair and Trusting The Process. Contact him here [email protected]