Dundalk FC can confirm that Stephen O’Donnell has been relieved of his duties as head coach.

The club has also parted ways with assistant manager Patrick Cregg.

A former club captain, O’Donnell returned to Oriel Park in December 2021 and led Dundalk to European qualification in his first season at the helm before guiding the Lilywhites to a fifth-place finish in 2023.

“This has been a very difficult decision to make,” said Dundalk FC owner Brian Ainscough.

“Stephen is, and always will be, a legendary figure at Dundalk FC and is a very talented young coach but football is a results business and, regrettably, our disappointing start to the season has led to this conclusion.

“Stephen and Patrick have worked tirelessly to improve the club over the past two-and-a-half years and I would like to thank both of them for their commitment, dedication and enthusiasm.

“I wish both of them the very best of luck in their future endeavours and they will always be welcome at Oriel Park.”

“It’s obviously a very sad day for myself and Padge,” said Stephen O’Donnell. “I love Dundalk FC and I love the town so much. 

“We always wanted what was the best for Dundalk FC and we worked tirelessly to try and do that. 

“I’m proud of our achievements over the past two years, qualifying for Europe and going close again last season.

“The way I left it with Brian was very amicable and I think the club is in really good hands going forward. 

“I have no doubt that the players and staff will get the club out of the position they’re in.”

First-team coach Liam Burns and Head of Football Operations Brian Gartland will take charge of the team on an interim basis while the search for a new appointment takes place.

The club will be making no further comment at this time.