Wednesday 13 December 2017

Lilywhites snap up Connolly for European tilt

A joint announcement from the clubs yesterday confirmed that the move will go through when the transfer window re-opens over the weekend. Photo: Sportsfile
A joint announcement from the clubs yesterday confirmed that the move will go through when the transfer window re-opens over the weekend. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Bray Wanderers will host Dundalk tonight - a day after agreeing a deal to sell flying winger Dylan Connolly to Stephen Kenny's side.

A joint announcement from the clubs yesterday confirmed that the move will go through when the transfer window re-opens over the weekend.

The Lilywhites will sign the talented ex-Ipswich youth for a transfer fee of €35,000, with short-term add-ons bringing the value to €40,000.

Bray will also retain a sell-on clause that will guarantee them a piece of the pie if Dundalk eventually sell the 22-year-old to a club across the water.

Connolly (pictured) has agreed a two-and-a-half-year contract at Oriel Park, which will mean any suitors will have to pay up if they show interest between now and the end of 2019. He will be eligible for their forthcoming Champions League dates with Rosenborg.

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny is a big admirer of Connolly and was keen to sign him last winter when Daryl Horgan departed for Preston, but Bray said they would not be willing to do business at any price. Their stance has changed in the intervening period, even though they are pushing for Europe and sit third in the table - seven behind Dundalk.

Earlier this month, the Seagulls reached a settlement with former boss Mick Cooke after a legal dispute arising from the manner of his departure.

They have invested heavily in their squad in a bid to challenge at the right end of the table and Harry Kenny's men will view this evening's encounter as the chance to close the gap.

Cork's blistering form has removed suspense from the title race, but they will be weakened by the loss of Sean Maguire and Kevin O'Connor to Preston.

But the growing Irish contingent at Deepdale will be alarmed by the news that manager Simon Grayson has left to become Sunderland's new manager.

Grayson had travelled to Ireland to watch Maguire and O'Connor and also promised opportunities to Horgan and Andy Boyle before they signed. A change of boss would be a worry for the fresh faces.

O'Connor has agreed terms with Preston but his deal has yet to be formally announced.

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