Defender Jordi Balk turns down St Pats stay to join Dutch third-tier side LiendenWed, Dec 20 2017
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Former St Patrick's Athletic defender Jordi Balk has signed a one-and-a-half-year deal with Dutch third division side Lienden after turning down an extended stay at Richmond Park.
23-year-old Balk joined midway through last season and was an integral part of a strong finish to the season that saw Liam Buckley's side avoid relegation on the final day of the season.
The rangey centre-half established himself as a firm fans' favourite, memorably scoring the first goal in a spectacular 4-2 comeback win over champions Cork City.
Balk played a total of 14 games during his four-month spell in Inchicore, scoring once and helping to keep four clean sheets.
Pats moved quickly to secure a replacement for Balk, signing the Republic of Ireland under-21 international Kevin Toner from Aston Villa on a two-year deal.
The Dutchman confirmed his departure with a post on the Pats Facebook page on Tuesday night, stressing his desire to live closer to home.
“The last months were fantastic and I really enjoyed my time with the Pats,” Balk wrote.
“St Pats' board and staff did everything they could to sign me for the next season(s). But I made my decision to stay in Holland with my family and friends.
“Thanks again, and I will never forget my time in Dublin. I wish you and my former team mates all the best this season and the future! Once a saint, always a saint!”
Balk came through the youth ranks at his local Eredivisie club Utrecht but left without making a senior appearance and signed for Ross County in Scotland in the summer of 2014.
He joined Dutch second-tier side Oss the following January and spent two-and-a-half years with the club based in the southern Netherlands before joining the Saints in July 2017.