Former Dundalk manager Dermot Keely is worried that the club are losing more ground to rivals Shamrock Rovers and is doubtful whether Filippo Giovagnoli is the man to steer them in the right direction. 

With five league titles in the last seven years, cup success and two stints in the group stages of the Europa League, the Lilywhites have grown accustomed to success. 

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Last season, however, the Oriel Park side had a number of setbacks. The FAI Cup was secured with a dramatic win over rivals Shamrock Rovers, but they finished 22 points adrift of the Hoops domestically and after a humbling defeat to NK Celje in the Champions League qualifiers back in August, a defeat that saw the club replace Vinny Perth with the 50-year-old Italian.

As well as losing ground on Stephen Bradley's Rovers, they also lost all six outings in the Europa League group stages.

Keely, who managed Dundalk to a league title in 1994/95, hasn't seen anything in Giovagnoli to suggest that he can take the club to the next level. 

I don't see the logic to the way he manages

"He has no reputation for bringing in players anywhere," he told the RTÉ Soccer podcast.

"The way he managed last year, in Europe, I thought he was scandalous," citing his bemusement at the tactical set-up and constant personnel switches made by the Italian. 

"I don’t see the logic to the way he manages. I don’t know him, or anything about him, so maybe I am being over-critical. Maybe I’m going to be proved wrong."

Given the rivalry that has built up between Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers, Keely was bemused to see full-back Sean Gannon, a five-time league champion with the Lilywhites, join Rovers on a free transfer. 

The 29-year-old had been linked with Pat's, but returned to the club where he started his career, with Sean Hoare also making the same journey

From Keely’s perspective, it suggests two clubs moving in different directions. 

"To lose your best right-back in the country to your main opponents is bad business," he said. 

"We [Dundalk] have a small pool of players. When you have a player like Gannon, who has been outstanding for two or three years, and then you let him go to your main rivals, that’s a big thing. 

"I know for Shamrock Rovers the losses of Aaron McEneff and Jack Byrne will put a hole in the middle of the park, but I think they have recruited well. 

"Dundalk will either fly, or it will be back to the usual boom-and-bust. I’d hope it would be boom, but I’d have my doubts."