Marty Donnelly’s Larne career was left in tatters after being summoned to a meeting with manager Tiernan Lynch and owner Kenny Bruce on Friday.
unday Life Sport understands Inver Park favourite Donnelly, along with Conor Devlin, was put on the transfer list by boss Lynch following a disagreement between the pair.
The former Crusaders and Cliftonville winger, who is now back on the radar of the Reds, was disgruntled after being taken off in last season’s Irish Cup Final against Linfield, and again more recently when he did not feature in Larne’s first-leg UEFA Conference League win over Bala Town.
Sunday Life Sport believes the matter was compounded when Lynch did not release 32-year-old Donnelly from his squad to participate in a coaching badges course, which led to an exchange of words.
Donnelly was then requested to attend a meeting with Lynch and Bruce on Friday, and was informed that he would not be welcome at Inver Park when the first team were in attendance.
The forward was told he could use the facilities anytime the first team were not using the club, and that he would have to train with younger teams at the club but would still be paid his full salary.
As a fans’ favourite and one of the undoubted success stories at Inver Park, the news that Donnelly had been placed on the transfer list has come as a shock to both player and many of his team-mates.
Donnelly arrived at Larne in January 2018 and along with Devlin helped the club to promotion to the Danske Bank Premiership followed by the County Antrim Shield in 2020 and European qualification for the first time at the end of last season.
Donnelly’s surprise was amplified by the fact that he and Bruce enjoyed a close relationship previously, but the Larne owner has thrown his weight behind manager Lynch over the decision to transfer-list the two players.
Devlin is currently recovering from injury but was dismayed to be left out of the party travelling to Oswestry to play Bala Town, believing he should have been there as a senior player and former captain of the team.
Larne have indicated they will try to help Donnelly find a new club, though it is not clear if a transfer fee will be involved. Donnelly has a year left on his current deal at Inver Park.
Cliftonville are interested in bringing Donnelly back to Solitude but have other irons in the fire which could complicate matters.
Glentoran are keen to speak to Reds keeper Aaron McCarey and Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin might eye a swap deal with Glens winger Jamie McDonagh if business can be done.
Glentoran sources insist that unless one of their keepers leaves The Oval, they will not be in the market for a stopper, with interest simmering in the background over Dayle Coleing.
The Glens have an offer on the table for Derry City striker David Parkhouse, who is also wanted by Cliftonville and Larne, but sources suspect there may not be any movement on the recruitment front until mid-August.
Meanwhile, Cliftonville forward Daire O’Connor is on trial with League Two side Harrogate Town but is expected to return home this week.