Institute star Oisin Devlin set for January move to Irish League champions Larne

​Kevin Deery is bracing himself for the departure of midfielder Oisin Devlin who has agreed a three-and-a-half year deal with Irish Premiership champions Larne.
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However, the Institute boss has wasted no time in closing in on his own targets as he looks to add 'experience and firepower' to his young squad in the January transfer window.

With talented teenager Devlin set to join the Inver Reds, it's a significant blow to 'Stute but Deery hasn't given up hope of negotiating a loan deal for the 17-year-old Carnhill lad which would allow him to see out the current NIFL Championship season at the Brandywell based club.

Experienced striker, Sean McCarron, who returned to the club as one of Deery's first signings last August, has also informed Deery he's played his final game due to work and family commitments and so the 'Stute manager is busy making preparations to bolster his squad early in the New Year.

The Creggan man revealed he is close to putting the finishing touches on a couple of new signings and stressed the need for reinforcements and investment in his squad who are well placed in second for a promotion push.

"Everything has been agreed by both parties and Oisin will become a Larne player in January," confirmed Deery. "We're hoping we can get him back on loan until the end of the season because Larne are obviously challenging on all fronts and we're in a position to continue his development.

"I think playing in the Championship for another few months where we will hopefully be pushing for promotion would be ideal for him and Larne. He's enjoying his football. I've always said that I want players to come and do well and use Institute as a platform for their career."

Deery has been busy working behind the scenes on recruitment and he's confident he can improve his current squad in the coming weeks.

Institute’s Oisin Devlin has been snapped up by Irish Premiership champions, Larne.  Photo: George SweeneyInstitute’s Oisin Devlin has been snapped up by Irish Premiership champions, Larne.  Photo: George Sweeney
Institute’s Oisin Devlin has been snapped up by Irish Premiership champions, Larne. Photo: George Sweeney

"There are still a lot of games to be played and it's no secret we want to strengthen the squad in January," began Deery.

"We've been talking to a few key personnel who we think will do that for us," he revealed. "So we have to manage this next eight to 10 days and get points on the board and then freshen the squad up a bit.

"I keep saying, the squad is crying out for a bit of experience and a bit of firepower because it's unfair hanging your hat on young fellas who are in their first year in senior football and you're depending on them every week to score goals.

"What we need to do is develop those young lads by giving them game-time here and there but to ask them to play 19 games in a row in senior football is really difficult and they also need experienced players to learn off as well, not just myself, Mo (Mahon) and Niall Grace.

Stute striker Michael Harris, who netted a brace against Newington on St Stephen's Day, is also attracting Irish Premiership interest.Stute striker Michael Harris, who netted a brace against Newington on St Stephen's Day, is also attracting Irish Premiership interest.
Stute striker Michael Harris, who netted a brace against Newington on St Stephen's Day, is also attracting Irish Premiership interest.

"So we're looking at bringing in a bit more experience and the calibre of player 'Stute might not have been able to get last year but because of the place we find ourselves in now, they seem interested and keen to come."

Deery wasn't prepared to give much away in terms of identifying his targets until the deals are 'over the line' but he stressed the need to replace those heading out the gates in the coming weeks.

"Our experienced players like Cormac (Burke) who was our club captain last year, he was injured for three months. Rhys (McDermott) did his cruciate and he's an experienced player. We're unfortunately losing Sean McCarron due to full-time work commitments and he's got a young family. Sean wants to concentrate on his profession outside football and we respect that. He's had a good impact with us but that's another experienced player gone.

"He spoke to us last week and he's played his last match against Annagh. He's a very good player and has been brilliant with us but he's struggling with the commitment as we're a semi-professional team. That's where we're at and we need a bit of experience now to guide these young boys who have been immense. They've stepped up and given everything so we need to push on for the next 10 days and then strengthen the squad in January.

"We have a tight budget but with a few leaving we will be replacing them. The budget is challenging but we need a bit more experience and more attacking options. I think the people we get in January will help us in that regard as well."

With Devlin heading to the Irish Premiership, it comes as no surprise to Deery that top flight clubs are circling around his top young talent and Championship ‘Player of the Month’ for November, Shaun Leppard, and Michael Harris are also on the radar of some of the bigger clubs.

For Deery it's a sign the club is the perfect platform for young players to develop their game.

"Oisin is coming from a couple of relegation fights which is difficult for any young player coming into that at 16 years of age. We're speaking about Oisin now but there's interest in a couple of other players like Shaun Leppard and Michael Harris. There are two or three others as well so that says to me we're doing something right if our players are attracting interest from the bigger clubs in the Irish Premiership.

"We'll always try to develop players and let them go on and have a good career in football."

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