Saints complete landmark signing of Kevin Toner from Aston Villa

Wed, Dec 20 2017

Toner (#4) lines up for Ireland under-19s ahead of a friendly win over the Netherlands in 2014. Credit: Tom Beary

St Patrick's Athletic have completed the landmark signing of defender Kevin Toner from Aston Villa on a two-year deal.


The Inchicore outfit have fought off competition from local rivals Shamrock Rovers for the 21-year-old's signature following the departure of influential centre-half Jordi Balk.


Balk has opted to return to his native Netherlands with third division club Lieden but Liam Buckley's side have been handed the perfect fillip in a defender with Premier League experience.


The Ashbourne native, who has appeared up to under-21 level with Ireland, made his first team breakthrough at Villa in late 2016, featuring four times in the Premier League.


He's since had spells on loan with Walsall, Bradford City and Stevenage, the latter spell ending last month.


"I am delighted to join St Pat's and I am really excited about the future ahead here,” Toner told the Saints' official website.


I got the call from Liam and after having a good chat with him and his plans, I knew I wanted to sign for the club.


“Playing for Villa and a few clubs in England was a great experience, but having the opportunity to come back home and play football was something I wanted to do."


Toner won't be without familiar faces in domestic football in Ireland – he played in the Villa youth sides with Shamrock Rovers striker Graham Burke and Evergreen's Mikey Drennan.


Buckley added: "We're all delighted to get Kevin's signature here at Pat's. Kevin is a top talent and proved himself at Aston Villa by making appearances at the highest level in the Premier League.


“He is one of a number of young talents in our squad and we believe he can develop as a footballer here and progress in his career."


"I believe Kevin can fit in with the group we are building for the season ahead and can play a big role for us during the 2018 season."