Dundalk land McEleney and Benson
League of Ireland champions Dundalk have secured their main transfer targets by signing highly regarded duo Patrick McEleney from Derry City and Robbie Benson from UCD.
The creative midfielders will be tasked with filling the void left by the departure of Richie Towell for Brighton, although Stephen Kenny is a long-term admirer of both acquisitions.
Dundalk will have to pay compensation to Derry for 23-year-old McEleney who was on trial with Peterborough last month. St Patrick's Athletic were very keen to sign him too, but the player has opted to link up with his old boss Kenny; he made his breakthrough for the Candystripes under the Dubliner.
Significantly, McEleney has signed a two-year deal with the Louth club who will be going for three league wins in a row next term.
Benson, who is also 23, had attracted interest from St Pat's, Shamrock Rovers and Cork but says that the chance to work with Kenny played a big part in his decision.
"One of the deciding factors was Stephen Kenny," he said. "I have got a lot of advice. It was my decision at the end of the day but everything that was said pointed in the direction to come here.
"I'm over the moon to be here. I have moved on from UCD and this was my first time really experiencing the off-season and the madness that it is! I'm really happy to get it sorted. It's a good move for me. Hopefully we can progress in the Champions League. It's what everyone wants to play in."