Dundalk sporting director Jim Magilton has confirmed he tried to keep Sean Gannon at the club prior to his departure for Shamrock Rovers before Christmas but has backed Cameron Dummigan to fill the void he has left.
Magilton had previously worked with Gannon during his spell as assistant to Michael O’Neill at Rovers in 2011 when the full back was breaking on to the scene.
While Magilton’s arrival at Oriel Park came too late to dissuade Sean Hoare from departing for Tallaght, the former Southampton star said he did speak to Gannon. While it was not enough to prevent the 29-year-old from leaving for the league champions, Magilton said he wished Gannon well in his future endeavours.
“Sean Gannon has been a top, top player in this league. Obviously it’s a disappointment (that he has left) but Sean is at an age where he felt he had to make a decision. He made that decision and now we have to get on with it.
“Players leave but he made a massive contribution to this football club and should be applauded for that. We wish him well. I have no airs and graces about that. I really like Sean. I saw him at the start of his career and now he’s really coming into his prime.
“At 29, you’re in the best psychological place in your career because you’ve come through a lifetime. Personally, I wish Sean well.”
While admitting Gannon’s departure w as a loss, Magilton said Cameron Dummigan – another player he has worked with in the past – had the potential to rival Gannon for the title of the league’s best right back next season.
“Cameron Dummigan was a right footed player playing left back last season. If you look at him and how he finished the season, you could argue he finished the season stronger than Sean.
“He’s a naturally right footed player so he could easily slot in and play right back without any shadow of a doubt and could potentially be the best right back in the league. He could give Sean Gannon some real competition for that.”
Magilton said he understood why fans were so upset by Gannon’s departure but said now was not the time for panic.
“There’s no need to panic but that was in recognition of Sean’s contribution to the football club on the back of his decision to leave. You have to respect that but now it’s up to us as a coaching staff and recruitment team to try and get a player in of equal standard.
“Of course, that’s difficult because of the standard and consistency that Sean has shown over many years,” he said.