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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 August, 2003, 19:34 GMT 20:34 UK
One in after six leave Pars
Shamrock Rovers defender Richie Byrne
Defender Richie Byrne impressed on trial at East End Park
Dunfermline Athletic have completed the 60,000 signing of Republic of Ireland Under-21 defender Richie Byrne after having released six first-team fringe players.

Jason Dair, Andre Karnebeek, Scott Walker, Steven Hampshire, George Fotheringham and Kevin McLeish have all agreed compensation deals to finish their contracts early.

Byrne has arrived from Shamrock Rovers on a three-year deal and manager Jimmy Calderwood is hoping that the will follow his other imports from Ireland, striker Noel Hunt and midfielder Gary Dempsey, in quickly challenging for a first-team place.

The six departures had all been transfer-listed last season in the hope that they would attract interest from other clubs.

And 22-year-old midfielder McLeish, who was on loan to Ross County last season, and 23-year-old former Chelsea youth striker Hampshire have already been snapped up by former Pars boss Dick Campbell, now of Brechin City.

They are taking a gamble, which says a lot about those players
Dunfermline boss Jimmy Calderwood

McLeish has signed a two-year deal with the First Division strugglers, while Hampshire has committed himself for a season.

Veteran defender Karnebeek has been on trial back in his Dutch homeland with Willem II.

Releasing the players now will allow them to sign for clubs after Sunday's closure of the transfer window as they will be technically unemployed.

"They have got a chance to go and get another club and it would have been difficult for them to get into the team," said Calderwood, who could make further signings from players left unemployed after Sunday.

"They are taking a gamble, which says a lot about those players that have gone."

Versatile 29-year-old Dair has been longest at East End Park, having signed from Raith Rovers in 1999.

Agent Jim McArthur said: "At least Dunfermline have given some compensation to tide them over.

"We have nothing in the pipeline, but we felt it was better that he left now as clubs will be looking to sign players after the closure of the transfer window."

Jason Dair
Jason Dair had made 145 appearances for Dunfermline
Defender Walker, 28, had failed to make the impact expected after joining from St Mirren, while 22-year-old winger Fotheringham has not yet the realised the promise expected following his arrival from Raith.

Signing former Aberdeen brothers Darren and Derek Young and former Bradford City defender Andy Tod during the summer had further reduced the chances of the transfer-listed players breaking back into the Pars first team.

David Grondin had been one of those listed as he his girlfriend had found it hard to settle in Scotland, but the former Arsenal defender is now happy at Dunfermline.

Former Middlesbrough winger Sean Kilgannon has decided to sit out the final year of his contract in the hope of forcing himself into Calderwood's plans.

Wing-back Chris McGroarty had earlier this week joined Clyde on loan.

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