Keith Ward has confirmed he will leave Bohemians in the off-season after five successful years at Dalymount Park.
The 31-year-old looks set for a return for a third stint at Dundalk as Stephen O’Donnell looks to rebuild the Lilywhites squad from scratch.
Ward is regarded as one of the league’s classiest operators over the past decade and has been key in nuturing the next generation like Ross Tierney and Dawson Devoy at Bohs.
The emergence of those players – Tierney confirmed a move to Scottish Premiership side Motherwell last week – has limited his gametime over the past couple of season.
Ward’s final act in a Bohs shirt was a missed penalty in the FAI Cup final shootout defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic two weeks ago.
The Swords native played a vital role in the transformation of Keith Long’s side to perennial top four contenders and O’Donnell will look to him to play a similar role at Oriel Park.
He began his League of Ireland career with UCD in 2008 and had spells with Dundalk, Bohs, Sligo Rovers and Derry City before returning to Dalymount Park ahead of the 2017 season.
“I just wanted to come on and give a big thanks to the players, staff and all the volunteers behind the scenes and most important [thanks] to all the fans who’ve supported me and the team during an amazing six seasons.” Ward wrote on social media.
“Playing last week in the final in front of 40,000 was the biggest highlight of my career. To lose on penalties and miss one was probably the lowest moment.
“It will never change my love for playing for Bohs. I’ll miss playing under the floodlights in Dalymount so much. You can’t beat it and the smell of the chipper warming up.
“Tanks [sic] for always having my back and of course Dublin will always be [red and white].”