Maguire sticks with Cork as Dundalk tie down Kilduff and Benson
While the spotlight is on Cork City's attempts to bolster their ranks to catch Dundalk next season, the decision of striker Sean Maguire to remain on Leeside could represent the club's most vital bit of winter business.
The scorer of 29 goals last season, including the winner in the FAI Cup final to deny the Lilywhites a second successive double, was out of contract and in demand overseas but felt duty-bound to give manager John Caulfield "at least one more season".
Maguire, still only 22, had attracted attention from Preston North End and a couple of Belgian clubs.
The former West Ham trainee retain ambitions of plying his trade abroad for a second stint, yet is prepared to give his all to Cork's tilt at ending their 12-year title drought.
"I owe it to Cork City and John for what they did a year ago by taking a gamble on me coming down here," admitted the ex-Dundalk frontman."We want to have another crack at the league, because that is what this club deserves."
Caulfield has recruited Sligo Rovers duo Achille Campion and Jimmy Keohane, along with Conor McCormack from Derry City.
Cork's bid to sign another of Derry's cast from last season's strong campaign, Aaron Barry, ended in disappointment after the Wicklow man opted to stick with the northerners for another 12 months.
Dundalk, meanwhile, yesterday wrapped up deals to retain Ciaran Kilduff and Robbie Benson.
It was the fitting the duo penned new deals in the same week the club's continuation in the Europa League is being decided as they each have played a key part in the journey so far.
Athlone native Benson scored Champions League goals against BATE Borisov and Legia Warsaw while strikes from Kilduff earned the four points against AZ Alkmaar and Maccabi Tel Aviv which gives Stephen Kenny's side a chance of progression heading into Thursday's concluding fixture in Israel.
Elsewhere, St Patrick's Athletic have lost two players from last season's squad after goalkeeper Brendan Clarke joined newly-promoted Limerick and Dylan McGlade accepted an offer from Longford Town.
Wexford Youths defender Lee Grace had linked up with his former boss Shane Keegan at Galway United.