Versatile 21-year old defender Kevin Toner leaves Aston Villa after six years of association with the club. After 4 Premier League appearances, Toner departs with zero first-team action since 2015.
Kevin Toner, a Republic of Ireland youth international and Ashbourne-born defender, is returning home to the Emerald Isle. Toner arrives on a two-year deal with Saint Patrick’s Athletic F.C. in the Irish Premier Division. The club is based in Dublin.
The Irish Sun quotes Toner as being very excited to return to Ireland.
"“Playing for Villa and a few clubs in England was a great experience, but having the opportunity to come back home and play football was something I wanted to do so I am delighted to sign with the club.”"
Toner was recently spending the season on-loan at League Two Stevenage. The central defender/left back made nine appearances across all competitions. This, after spending his 2015-2016 at both Walsall and Bradford City on-loan.
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Interestingly, Toner never made his mark in the second division following Aston Villa’s relegation from the Premier League – despite several starts in the top flight at age 19. He was always a bit of a ‘tweener in terms of natural position. A bit short and not physical enough for center back, but not explosive enough for left fullback. Toner even dabbled a bit in defensive midfield.
With fellow young defenders Easah Suliman and Mitch Clark passing him on the depth charts, a move away from Aston Villa was in Kevin Toner’s best interest.
Saint Patrick’s Athletic kick-off the 2018 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division (yeah, that is a mouthful) on February 16, 2018 against Cork City. Toner’s Villa deal was expiring in the summer. Therefore, it is unknown if the club received a fee for the player’s transfer.
All the best for the future, Kevin!