Dundalk FC can confirm that Daniel Kelly’s time at Oriel Park has come to an end.

Dickie moved to the Lilywhites in the winter of 2018 and went on to help Dundalk to the SSE Airtricity League title in 2019, as well as collecting FAI Cup, EA SPORTS League Cup, FAI President’s Cup and Unite the Union Champions Cup winners medals.

The Ringsend native made 156 appearances for the Lilywhites, scoring 34 goals. Nineteen of those appearances came in Europe and Kelly was part of the Dundalk squad that qualified for the group stages of the UEFA Europa League in 2020.

“I had an amazing time at Dundalk,” he told dundalkfc.com. “I won everything there is to win and I played in the Europa League group stages. It’s sad, but I just think it’s time for a change.”

Daniel Kelly, pictured with Robbie Benson and Sean Gannon after Dundalk won the 2019 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title. Photo: Ciaran Culligan

Reflecting on his five seasons at Oriel Park, Kelly said there were too many highlights to mention.

“Stephen Kenny rang me to sign for Dundalk at the end of 2018,” he revealed. “He obviously left a few days later but Vinny Perth got in contact with me to say it was the club, and not just Stephen, who wanted me, which was great to hear.

“I really enjoyed my first season in 2019. I think I played over 50 games and scored 15 or 16 goals, including one against Linfield at Windsor Park, which the Dundalk fans enjoyed!

“In 2020, we made the Europa League group stages, which was incredible. It was an unbelievable achievement for everyone. Playing against Arsenal was the one that stood out the most for me.

“We also won the FAI Cup with Davy Mac scoring a hat-trick against Shamrock Rovers at the Aviva. That was an unbelievably talented group and we created some great memories.

“As we know, there was a lot of stuff going on in 2021 that was outside of our control and at the end of that season I was thinking of leaving but when Stevie O’Donnell got the job, I wanted to stay and play under him.

“Stevie is an upcoming manager with an incredible knowledge of the game and the attention to detail that both he and Padge Cregg have is unbelievable. It was a pleasure to play for them.

“Considering the number of changes, we had an incredible season in 2022, qualifying for Europe, and although this year has been full of ups and downs, I have no doubt that Dundalk Football Club will get back to where it really belongs.”

Daniel Kelly, pictured with his father Bob, after the final game of the season against UCD. Photo by Gerry Scully

Dickie’s last outing in a white shirt came in the 5-1 win over UCD at The UCD Bowl on November 3rd, when he was given an emotional send-off by the Dundalk supporters.

“The little moment at the end of the UCD game was quite sad because I’ve not really known anything else but Dundalk,” he said.

“I played for Bray for six months and Bohs for six months so Dundalk was my first proper home and I still haven’t really processed the fact that I won’t be there next year.

“Everyone at the club, from Yvonne who makes the tea, Noely the kitman, Burnsy…they all made me, my missus, my mam, my brothers and, especially my da feel welcome right from the very first day. My da’s been going up to Dundalk for the past five years and has met great people who will be friends for life.

“The fans took to me straight away and they backed me and the team and I hope they continue to do that in the future. It’s a great town, all you see and hear is Dundalk and I love that about the place.

“I tried to give 100% in every game and I hope the fans can appreciate that – but I know they’ll give me plenty of stick when I go back there next year, which is the way it should be at Oriel Park!”

Everyone at the club would like to thank Dickie for what he did at Oriel Park and we wish him, and the Kelly family, the very best of luck in the future.