Dundalk have confirmed that defender Andy Boyle – who previously played with the club between 2013 and 2016 – will return to Oriel Park on a long-term deal, effective from July 1st.
The 28-year-old returns to the Lilywhites following a frustrating spell at Preston North End, in which he made just ten English Championship appearances following his debut for the club in 2017.
That came after the one-time Republic of Ireland international had helped Dundalk to three consecutive SSE Airtricity League titles, an FAI Cup as well as reaching the Europa League proper.
It is understood that Boyle has been a transfer target for Dundalk since January when head coach Vinny Perth was exploring the option of bringing the Dubliner back to club on a six-month loan deal.
Having already played for both Doncaster Rovers and Dundee on similar arrangements, Boyle instead joined Ross County before returning to Preston, where his contract is expires next month.
As well as a host of cross-channel clubs, the former Dundalk vice-captain was attracting interest from Shamrock Rovers, but Boyle himself was never in much doubt about where he wanted to play.
“I’m delighted to get it done; it’s been a long process speaking for the last month with different clubs, but when I had a look around, the changes to the place since I left are amazing,” said Boyle.
“The facilities for the players here now – I think it shows the club is only going one way and I just want to be a part of it. I know a lot of the staff and the lads that I would have played with before.
“It’s great when you walk into a club, it’s nice to know a few faces. They’re a great bunch, I’ve always kept in contact with most of the lads and going forward, it’s nice to have them around.”
His return to Oriel Park becomes effective when the summer transfer window officially opens on July 1st, meaning that he is ineligible for this Friday’s top-of-the-table clash away at Shamrock Rovers.
Dundalk, though, were eager to complete the deal as soon as possible in order to register him for their upcoming Champions League first qualifying round tie against Latvian double-winners Riga FC.
“I think we’re on nine or ten wins out of 11 and the form has been brilliant. It’s a big stage of the season with the European tie to look forward to – I think we’re in a good place,” continued Boyle.
Boyle had also played in the League of Ireland with UCD and Shelbourne before joining Dundalk for the first time under Stephen Kenny in 2013 and went on to make over 100 league appearances.
Dundalk are also understood to be exploring the possibility of bringing in an extra striker as cover for Patrick Hoban and Georgie Kelly during the summer transfer window, which opens on Monday.