Pats snap up Latvian star
ST PATRICK'S Athletic have made a double swoop before the close of the League of Ireland transfer deadline today, snapping up Latvian international Gints Freimanis and former Cork City man Darragh Ryan.
Pats boss Jeff Kenna has been building a new-look squad at Richmond Park, as 14 players from last season's first-team have left the club since the season ended in November. The Saints had already added new faces with the signing of John Lester, Gary Rogers and Alan Cawley but now Kenna has moved to bring in two more -- and he's not finished with his dealings on the transfer market as he's still on the hunt for two more players.
"We have signed up Gints and Darragh on a one-year contract and I think they will both do very well for us next season," Kenna told the Herald.
Attacking midfielder Freimanis first caught the eye when he played for Latvian side FK Riga, as they knocked Bohemians out of the Intertoto Cup last summer. He subsequently had trials with Cork City and Real Betis, but now following a trial at Pats, Kenna has seen enough to offer him a deal.
"He will bring something different to the squad and he's also a very experienced player. He's played a lot of games and has played in Europe, so that's good to have," said Kenna.
"He played in a friendly against Chelsea last week and did very well, he showed great enthusiasm and scored a goal for us, so he'll be a great addition.
"Darragh Ryan will also bring experience as he's been in the league for a few years now, his pedigree speaks for itself. We didn't have too much cover down the left side so Darragh will give us that as he can play in defence or midfield.
"We have a decent squad now but I would still like to bring in two more players, we'll see what business we can do in the next couple of days."
Striker Gavin Glinton, an international with Turks and Caicos, will spend another week on trial with Pats in a bid to win a deal -- the former LA Galaxy player is not affected by today's transfer deadline as he is a free agent. But Pats have decided not to sign Irish midfielder Mark Salmon, the Wolves player who had been on trial.
Pats are still waiting for a final word on the fitness of Mark Quigley, last season's top scorer who suffered a shoulder injury in last week's draw with Chelsea, but Kenna expects the former U21 cap to be out for three weeks, ruling him out of the March 6 season opener against Galway United.
Meanwhile, Keith Fahey says he appreciates the support he still gets from fans at his former club St Patrick's Athletic despite his move to Birmingham City.
Fahey yesterday made his seventh league appearance for Alex McLeish's side in their 1-0 defeat to Coventry City, and he knows that a bunch of Pats supporters have travelled over to the English midlands to cheer on their hero.
"It's good that they are still following me," said Fahey. "I left St Pats with good feelings because I didn't leave on a bad note. They respect me for that and they know I'm here to further my career. They are happy with how well I've got on.
"At the end of last season, they told me that when I signed for Birmingham, there would be a good few of them coming over but I didn't think there'd be 60 of them. I found out a week or two before the game against Burnley that they were coming. They are a mad bunch, they are here just to have the craic, it was good to go over and see them. I said to them 'sorry I didn't get on for longer'.
"It's a pity they didn't come over the weekend after that, when I scored. I know a couple of them personally, not very well, but from going to games. I left them with good feelings and I have good feelings about St Pats; hopefully I'll have as good a relationship with the fans at the Blues."