Gosson gathers talent

by Stephen Findlater
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SWORDS Celtic manager Gerard Gosson says that League of Ireland’s loss has definitely been to the benefit of the Leinster Senior League as his side has been bolstered by top flight talent significantly in recent times.

The Balheary club will go top this weekend if they can see off Drogheda Town, while they have an eye-catching FAI Intermediate Cup tie a week later against Ballyfermot United.
To reach that phase, Gosson’s side beat Sunday Senior side Phoenix – who play two divisions above Swords – with thanks to a brace of goals from Mario Dolan, a player indicative of the new trend in local soccer.
The manager heard of Dolan’s potential availability through his contacts at Shelbourne for almost a decade and that he was also living locally in Swords.
“Mario has been a brilliant signing for us. He was with Shelbourne before, and [played] up north as well. He had [professional] offers on the table but, with work commitments and a new arrival to the family, he decided to play for us.
“He adds to the experience we have and is great in the dressing room. Leading the line, he is such a threat up front.”
Dolan will be with the club until January at least and Gosson says they “will see what happens after that”; but he is among a number of players who have decided in recent times to line out for local clubs.
Glenn Crowe and Stephen Paisley have linked up with boyhood club St Mochta’s, while Lucan United have also seen League of Ireland players join them.
“In the League of Ireland, unfortunately, the funds aren’t there for players,” explained Gosson.
“They are weighing up the value of travelling all over the country for money that may barely cover their expenses. It can be easier for them to go and play for a team in their own area. You have the likes of Stephen Bradley there at Lucan, which is a great signing for them.
“It’s the way the LSL has gone and it is now a great standard of football. All the teams are competitive and, certainly in the top two leagues, you will have League of Ireland-standard lads.
“We have Gavin Whelan, who was with Drogheda, Paul Shields from Monaghan and Shels, and Robbie Farrell. They live in the area and you find, through their contacts, once you get one in, they will get another [player] along who they will tell it is right for them.”
Such a boost in playing standard has Gosson confident ahead of the Intermediate Cup tie against Ballyfermot, a side with whom there is no recent history to speak of.
He hopes to get out and see them play this weekend and says his panel will be “confident but not cocky” ahead of the tie.

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