Sport League of Ireland

Thursday 21 September 2017

'I think Cork and Dundalk are looking at that' - League of Ireland top two set for possible transfer battle

2 June 2017; John Dunleavy of Cork City in action against Chris Shields of Dundalk during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Dundalk and Cork City at Oriel Park in Dundalk, Co. Louth. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
2 June 2017; John Dunleavy of Cork City in action against Chris Shields of Dundalk during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Dundalk and Cork City at Oriel Park in Dundalk, Co. Louth. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Conor Neville

Cork City's lead is now so substantial that it may be impossible for anyone to catch them, no matter how many of their senior players are picked off by the hungry beasts in the English Football League.

Their demolition of champions Dundalk in Oriel Park last Friday seemed to end the argument halfway through the season, and it is impossible to envisage them being caught.

But this spectacular form brings its downsides.

No sooner had we learned that Sean Maguire was en route to the League of Ireland Old Boy's Association at Preston that we heared full back Kevin O'Connor was bound for the same destination.

One of the big questions now is how will they replace these players. 

Galway United's Ronan Murray has been mentioned as has one of the league's most lauded talents, Sligo Rovers midfielder Kieran Sadlier. Dundalk old boy Pat Hoban, who struggled badly at Mansfield Town this season, has also been mooted.

Speaking on LOI Weekly on Independent.ie, Dan McDonnell foresees a possible race for signatures between the top two, as Cork City's scintillating form and growing strength may draw Dundalk into the market.

Kenny hasn't splashed out much in the last while, despite the European windfall and Cork's 2017 season may force him and the club to make a move.

"I think both Cork and Dundalk are looking at that (Pat Hoban). Even though I think Dundalk said they weren't interested. But circumstances have changed. They weren't 18 points behind at that stage. I wouldn't be surprised if they had a nibble at Sadlier as well. There is a thing going on here where if a player becomes available, and you're not that sure about them but it seems as if Cork are going to sign them. You don't want them to get to strong.

"I've heard numerous stories in the past, and it slightly contradicts this belief that Stephen Kenny is always methodical in his signings, but if you think if another club is going to get a good player, you might say I'll get involved in that. It's a spoiler.

"If you think Sligo are willing to do business on Sadlier, and you rate him as a player, you might get involved in that, even though in the normal run of things you might wait until the end of the season."

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