With the 2017 League of Ireland season now concluded, the annual PFAI Transfer List was released on Monday featuring numerous League of Ireland players who are out of contract in the off-season.
Given the nature of the league’s widespread one-year contracts, the list features plenty talented names who find themselves in the shop window.
While many will simply return to the same club ahead of the 2018 campaign, some will be on the move.
Here we put together our best XI comprised of all the players who featured on the list.
Goalkeeper – Peter Cherrie
Cherrie impressed at Bray despite the ongoing off-field trauma at the Wicklow club. The former Dundalk number one has spent two years at the Seasiders and would be a valuable addition to most League of Ireland sides.
The Scotsman is well-accustomed to the league having spent six years at Oriel Park prior to joining Bray. St Pats’ Lukasz Skowron and Kevin Horgan of Shamrock Rovers are two other impressive net-minders on the list.
Right-back – Colm Horgan
The Galway captain has consistently been one of the Tribesmen’s top performers over the last number of seasons and their relegation to the second tier will make it almost impossible for them to keep the versatile defender.
A brother of Preston winger Daryl, the majority of Premier Division clubs will be keen to snap up Horgan.
Centre-back – John Dunleavy
It will probably only be a matter of time before Dunleavy does sign a new deal with champions Cork City but nevertheless, the Donegal man finds himself on the transfer list. Injury has hampered his last two seasons but on his day the ex-Wolves man is one of the best defenders in the country.
His versatility makes the club captain a key player on Leeside and it is hoped that 2018 will see him put his injury woes behind him.
Centre-back – Aaron Barry
One of two Derry defenders to make our team, Barry has spent three years with the Candystripes following a youth career with Sheffield United. The centre-back drew plenty of plaudits this season as part of the Derry side that finished fourth in the league.
Derry often struggle to keep hold of their big names and the Wicklow native has been linked with a move to Dundalk of late.
Left-back – Dean Jarvis
Jarvis has spent five seasons at Derry and has become one of the league’s most impressive full-backs in that time.
A Northern Ireland u-21 international, Jarvis may well stay at the Brandywell for 2018 but don’t be surprised to see a number of the league’s top sides in for the ex-Aberdeen man.
Centre-midfielder – Bastien Hery
Limerick’s French central midfielder grew into his first League of Ireland season and impressed substantially in the latter parts of the year.
The former Rochdale and Carlisle man helped his side to avoid relegation and Limerick will be hoping to keep the Frenchman on Shannonside despite the interest of rivals Cork City.
Centre-midfielder – Barry McNamee
Derry feature heavily in this team given the prominence of their players on the transfer list. McNamee is one of the jewels in the Candystripes’ crown and has been at the club since 2011.
Another stellar campaign this year solidified his place as one of the league’s top midfielders. Cork and Limerick are among his many suitors and 2017 could have been his final season on Foyleside.
Centre-midfielder – Keith Ward
Despite playing in the league since 2008, 2017 was the year that Ward became a household name at last. The Bohemians attacker stood out as Keith Long’s men secured fifth spot in the table.
The Dubliner has spent time at Dundalk, Derry and Sligo among others but seems at home in Dalymount Park and Bohs’ fans will be hoping that he stays on board for 2018.
Right-wing – Gary McCabe
One of two Bray men in the team, McCabe shone for this year after signing from Shamrock Rovers. The midfielder has developed into a more central player later in his career but features on the wing for this side.
Having scored 15 goals in the league this season, it’s no surprise to see the former Sligo Rovers man being tipped with a move away from the Carlisle Grounds.
Striker – Rodrigo Tosi
The second Limerick star to make the list, Limerick manager Neil MacDonald is a big supporter of the Brazilian striker and keeping him for 2018 will be a high priority.
Fourteen league goals was an impressive return in a side that fleeted with relegation for most of the year. He has been linked with a move away from the Markets Field but age is against the 34-year-old.
Left-wing – Conan Byrne
Byrne has now completed five seasons at St Pat’s and is firmly installed as an Inchicore favourite. A move away from Liam Buckley’s men would be a shock, especially as they narrowly avoided relegation in the final game of 2017.
The tricky winger does find himself on the transfer list however and is a welcome addition to this team.
Honourable Mentions: Lukasz Skowron, Kevin Horgan, Ian Bermingham, Stephen Folan, Killian Brennan, Gavan Holohan, Kurtis Byrne, Billy Dennehy.
Thomas Stafford, Pundit Arena
Check out the latest episode of The Mixer as we review the FAI Cup final and look ahead to Ireland’s crunch World Cup play-off with Denmark.