Kelly Looking forward to Oriel Return
While a delay in receiving international clearance has prevented him from returning to action, Simon Kelly is looking forward to challenging for a place in the Dundalk line up for the second half of the season. The 24-year-old defender has spent the past eighteen months at Irish League side, Ballymena. However, he was placed on the transfer list at the Showgrounds at the end of the Northern season, and has made a swift return to his hometown club – where he previously spent five seasons between 2002-03 and 2006.
Kelly has been training with Dundalk since the squad returned from the two-week June break, however, the confirmation of his move has been held up as he has transferred from a different jurisdiction. That led to the player being ineligible for the first two games of July against Athlone Town and Kildare County, however, he will be available to manager John Gill soon.
“I’ll be glad to to get it out of the way,” Kelly commented to dundalkfc.com about receiving clearance to play. “You get fed up training and not being able to play matches. I can’t wait to get back playing now. I’m delighted to be back here.
“It was good to get a change, playing up the North, to see what it’s like at different clubs in a different league. It’s good to be back, but it was good to have a new experience as well. I find the training uphere is better, but the Northern league is a good standard. Thebottom eight aren’t great, but the top eight are good.” Kelly was part of the Dundalk squad which was robbed of promotion two seasons ago after going on an amazing run that saw them lose just once in 25 outings. And, a repeat of that achievement is undoubtedly the aim for the returning defender. “There’s four teams up there, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be challenging,” Simon said. “I think there’s a very strong squad here. “There’s a lot of good players here – twenty odd good players who are all looking to get into the side. It’s going to be very hard to get into the team, but all I can do is keep my head down and keep training. I’m not expecting anything straight away, but I’ll just get in,work hard and hope for the best.” And, having played a big role in the Lilywhites’ ‘promotion’ run two years ago, Gill is aware of the quality that Kelly will bring to the Oriel outfit as they bid for First Division title glory. “We’re delighted to have Simon back at the club,” Gill told dundalkfc.com. “We all know the quality of player that he is. He’s trained extremely well and he’s dropped a good bit of weight. His attitude has been tremendous since he’s come back, and, certainly, Simon is going to have a big part to play in the rest of the season.” FULL PLAYER PROFILEName: Simon KellyPosition: Central Defender, Central MidfielderHonours: ‘Promotion’ with Dundalk (2006)Ex-clubs: Dundalk, BallymenaPremier League Experience: 0 appearancesJoined: July 2008Joined from: BallymenaSigned by: John GillClub debut: v Kilkenny City (A), 26 January 2003First club goal: v Bray Wanderers (A), 22 April 2003Born: ArmaghDate of birth: 4 July 1984Height: 6ft2
Simon Kelly (born: 4 July 1984) is a central defender/central midfielder who has spent his entire League of Ireland career with Dundalk. The 24-year-old made his senior breakthrough at Oriel Park under Trevor Anderson when he made one appearance during the interim season of 2002-03. Kelly went on to make a further 108 appearances, scoring 11 goals, over the following four seasons, with his first league goal for the club coming in his first full year, in a 3-1 defeat away to Bray Wanderers on 22 April 2003. However, as Dundalk struggled badly under both Anderson and Jim Gannon, Kelly’s fine form failed to inspire the Lilywhites to any success. Upon the arrival of John Gill in December 2005, however, the youngster’s ability was matched by a quality squad – one which went on to earn promotion with a run of just one loss in their final 25 games of the season. Kelly was to play a pivotal role during that campaign at the centre of defence, however, following the decision to instead promote Galway United and a failure to agree a new contract with Gill for the 2007 First Division season, Simon departed to join Irish League side, Ballymena. There, he spent eighteen months, where he made a total of 28 appearances, scoring one goal. However, when Roy Walker took over as manager of the Showgrounds club, he immediately placed five players on the transfer list, including Kelly. Alerted to the availability of the player, Gill soon agreed terms with Simon, with the defender completing his move home in mid-July after eventually receiving international clearance.