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Matthew Snoddy is set for Crusaders exit as clubs begin to plan for the future

 

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Moving on: Matthew Snoddy is to leave Seaview after a loan spell at Glenavon

Moving on: Matthew Snoddy is to leave Seaview after a loan spell at Glenavon

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Kyle Owens

Kyle Owens

�INPHO/Stephen Hamilton

Moving on: Matthew Snoddy is to leave Seaview after a loan spell at Glenavon

Danske Bank Premiership sides are beginning to trim their squads following the curtailment of the league season sparked by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Football was suspended in March and attempts to play two further rounds of fixtures were kicked into touch.

A mathematical formula saw Linfield crowned champions, while Institute, three points behind Warrenpoint Town at the bottom, were relegated to the Championship, with Portadown promoted.

Four teams are still focused on Irish Cup glory this month, with Coleraine facing Ballymena United (4pm) and Glentoran taking on Cliftonville (8pm) in the semi-finals at Windsor Park on Monday, July 27, before the decider on Friday, July 31.

And as the season has been extended until July 31, clubs cannot register players for next campaign until next month.

Clubs have been releasing players, however, including Linfield, who allowed defenders Josh Robinson and Chris Casement to leave.

Robinson has been linked with Larne and his old club Crusaders, where manager Stephen Baxter is transforming his backline.

Cameron Dummigan has departed after the end of his loan period from Dundalk, Kyle Owens has been placed on the transfer list, out-of-contract Sean Ward could move to Glenavon and Howard Beverland is also expected to leave Seaview.

Another fans' favourite leaving the Shore Road side is midfielder Matthew Snoddy, who has been placed on the transfer list.

The club stated: "'Skimmer' as he was known around Seaview joined from Greenisland Boys, came through the youth ranks at the club and won every domestic medal in his time on the Shore Road, including a Setanta Cup winners' medal at the tender age of 19, scoring in a tense penalty shoot-out against Derry City.

"A firm favourite among fans, the midfielder played 248 games, scoring 27 goals. Matthew had not featured for Crusaders last season and went on loan to Glenavon in the January window.

"Thank you Matthew for everything you have done for Crusaders and you leave with our very best wishes for the future and a big welcome awaits you when you return."

Jordan Owens' brother Kyle, who has been on loan at Ballymena United since January, is also on the transfer list and the club added: "Thank you for your efforts in red and black and we would like to wish Kyle all the best for the future and we look forward to seeing him back at Seaview as an opponent or even to watch his brother Jordan next season."

And the Crues added: "Crusaders would like to put on record their sincere thanks and best wishes for the future to Cameron Dummigan, who has left the club after the end of his loan period from Dundalk.

"Cameron signed in January and his professionalism and attitude to training and playing matches has certainly left a mark on the rest of the squad having come from a full-time background.

"Thanks again Cameron and we look forward to watching your career flourish wherever you play next."

Warrenpoint Town have parted company with five players after the conclusion of the Danske Bank Premiership season.

Gavin Smith, Deane Watters, Emmet Hughes, Ciaran McCann and Mark McKee have all come to the end of their contracts at the Q Radio Arena and will not return to the club next season.

Watters is the highest profile of the departures, the 22-year-old Irish midfielder leaving after two and a half years with Warrenpoint, scoring twice in 52 appearances.

Defender Hughes was also a prominent figure at the club, winning 36 caps for the Down side and scoring one goal from left-back.

Centre-back Smith and midfielder McCann both leave after spending one year at Milltown, appearing in just 12 games and eight games respectively.

Midfielder McKee was a mid-season acquisition for Point from Cliftonville last season but the 21-year-old made only two appearances after making the switch and now becomes a free agent.

Championship side Newry City have signed Thomas Lockhart and Jimmy Walker.

Striker Lockhart (26) joins his hometown club from Northern Amateur League side Rathfriland, although prior to that he picked up Premiership experience with a stint at Dungannon Swifts before relocating to the United States for a short period.

Midfielder Walker (29) returns to The Showgrounds after a year away with Windmill Stars.

Meanwhile, BBC Sport NI is to broadcast both Irish Cup semi-finals and the final live across BBC Two NI television, online, iPlayer and BBC Radio Ulster.

Belfast Telegraph