Paddy Kirk returns

Bohemian Football Club is delighted to announce the return of defender Paddy Kirk on a multi-year deal.

Kirk, who came through the Bohs U19s before making his first-team bow in 2018, returns to Dalymount Park after two years away during which time he has had spells with Longford Town and Sligo Rovers respectively.

He is the third new signing of ahead of the 2023 season following the arrivals of Keith Buckley and Adam McDonnell.

Kirk, 24, said: “I am proud and grateful to have the opportunity to play for the club again.

“Having seen last year, I wanted to come back and try and make things better. To have the opportunity to do that, it means more now, and I am as excited as I have ever been.

“I feel I’m coming back a better player, a better person, and with a different mentality.

“When I came through the club, initially through the U19s, I never expected to get the kind of praise and support that I got. It was unbelievable. That’s what made it so difficult to leave, so it was definitely a huge factor in me coming back here.

“Obviously when I left, having come through the U19s, I was always trying to prove myself and establish myself here. But going away for a couple of years and actually going and playing regularly has allowed me to disconnect and really focus on myself and my football, and where I could improve on that.

“I perhaps focused too much on the emotions, on this being my club when I was here first, so going away really allowed me to focus on my game and, coming back now, I feel I am a more rounded footballer as a result of that.”

Full-back Kirk admits he is impressed with new manager Declan Devine’s plans and is looking forward to what the future can bring when the club returns to a full-time and morning training set-up in the new year.

He said: “It was always in my head that I wanted to come back but it’s not something I wanted to rush either, and I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t feel the club was going to be in the right place next year.

“When I met with Declan, I was a little cautious before meeting him that I didn’t want to jump straight in at the first opportunity. But from talking to Declan, you could tell straight away that he has the right values and that he wants the right things for the club.

“That was really important for me, and in terms of the environment I am going into, he will make sure it is the right one.

“So it wasn’t a case of jumping back at the first opportunity, it was measured. But from talking to Declan, what he wants for the club, and the players he wants to bring in, it was clear it was the right time to come back.

“If we implement everything Declan says and that the group wants, qualifying for Europe will hopefully become a natural step in that.

“But the main thing, from the outside looking in, is to get it back to where it was in terms of our mentality, to what it means to people, how we approach games, the atmosphere around the place, and everything else that goes with that.

“They are the most important things, and everything on the pitch, and qualifying for Europe, are byproducts of that.

“In terms of development and as individuals, going full-time, even when you are not in training, there is more time to recover. Your rest and your whole life is geared towards football, which can only have a positive effect on the pitch.

“In previous years, so many of us were going from work to training or to games. It has flipped now that you are here to be a professional footballer and that can only be a good thing.”

Welcoming Kirk back to Dalymount, Devine said: “He is a player I wanted to get in from the start. I said when I took over that I wanted players who knew what the club and its values were about, and Paddy fits that bill.

“I feel that he is coming back to the club a better player than when he left having played for a few seasons at other clubs.

“I am really looking forward to working with him. I feel he is a player that will excite the fans, but also excite the players we have at the club and excite the kind of player we are trying to attract to the club in terms of his quality as a player and qualities as a person.

“He is another really, really important part of the jigsaw for next season, but we know we have much more work to do too.”

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