The last few days have been difficult for St Patrick's Athletic on the pitch, with two points dropped in almost as many minutes in the final stages at Finn Harps on Friday before losing to Shamrock Rovers three days later.

But there is also speculation about one of the Inchicore club's key players Darragh Burns.

The winger has impressed this season, earning himself call-ups to the Republic of Ireland Under-21s, and he is now being linked with moves to clubs in the UK.

But Shamrock Rovers are also potentially waiting in the wings as reported by the Irish Independent if a transfer to England or Scotland does not materialise.

And the possible eventualities leave Pat's with a decision to make according to former UCD, Sheffield Wednesday and Hoops midfielder Paul Corry.

"Pat's have a bit of a dilemma here because it's not as if they have Darragh tied down for the next 18 months," he told the RTÉ Soccer Podcast.

"So they have a real decision to make from a financial point of view.

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"Are they going to cash in on him now or are they going to try and use him to maybe secure European football that also has its riches and rewards come the end of the year?

"It's a difficult one as well from a player's point of view. He probably wants to move at this stage of his career, he probably feels as if he's ready to go and if a club - MK Dons are a team that was mentioned - that would be a really good landing ground for Darragh over there.

"They're a really progressive club who play out from the back and probably not too dissimilar to what he's experiencing at Pat's.

"And then on the flipside is if they don't sell him now, there's potential they lose him to Shamrock Rovers, and Shamrock Rovers have shown with the acquisitions of Danny Mandroiu and Andy Lyons that they've picked up the best of the rest within the league.

"If he isn't to go this year to the UK, you would suspect that he's probably going to go to Tallaght because he'll probably want to be part of that success story. So it's going to be interesting to see how this plays out. over the next couple of weeks.

Darragh Burns, Bohemians Dawson Devoy and Andy Lyons during an Ireland U21 training camp

"I would not be surprised if they did cash in if a good bid came in for him just purely on the basis that they haven't got him tied down to a long deal and the likelihood is they're going to lose him at the end of the season."

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Lyons helped quell Burns from fully blazing a trail in Monday night's win for Shamrock Rovers and Corry believes the Ireland Under-21 defender's progress as an attacking and defensive talent at wing-back could see him make a big step over the next 18 months.

"I would wonder given his age profile and the way teams are setting up, particularly in the UK with a five at the back, if Andy can continue to progress like he has done over the last 12 months, there's every chance that he won't be at Shamrock Rovers," said Corry.

"Because what he has shown since moving across (from Bohemians), he's progressed and there's certainly another gear or two to go within his progression."

Corry added that Lyons (21) "ticks all the boxes" in regards to attitude and game understanding to play at the highest level.

"When you combine that with the talent that he clearly has, it makes for a good recipe for success," he said.

"If he is to continue like I mentioned, there's every possibility that we're sitting here in six to 12 months' time and Andy's secured a move across to the UK or maybe to a European team."

Listen to the RTÉ Soccer podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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