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Waterford bring in ex-Ireland U21 defender from Cork as Dundalk winger joins Galway

John Kavanagh and Carlton Ubaezuonu have made temporary moves ahead of the start of the 2018 season.

John Kavanagh John Kavanagh Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

CORK CITY AND Dundalk have both sent players out on loan in search of regular game-time as the start of the 2018 SSE Airtricity League season approaches.

John Kavanagh has left City to join fellow Premier Division outfit Waterford, while Dundalk have allowed Carlton Ubaezuonu to make a temporary move to Galway United in the First Division. Both players are due to return to their parent clubs at the end of June.

After establishing himself as a regular starter in the first-team at Cork City, Kavanagh has endured a difficult couple of years due to injuries. The 23-year-old right-back continued his road to recovery with a loan spell at Cobh Ramblers last season.

In 2015, his form saw him called up to the Republic of Ireland U21 squad and earned the attack-minded full-back comparisons to Seamus Coleman. Kavanagh made his first Waterford appearance in a 1-0 win over Tramore AFC last night in a pre-season friendly.

“This is a good move for Kav,” said Cork City manager John Caulfield. “He spent the second half of last season on loan at Cobh Ramblers and got some much-needed game-time under his belt. This is an opportunity for him to continue the progress he made last year, with more playing time, and this time it is at Premier Division level.

“He had a very serious operation and has done extremely well to come back from it. This loan move is the latest step for him. He has shown a lot of toughness and resolve to work his way back to fitness, and it is now all about playing games for him.

“He is a player we have a lot of time for and we see a bright future for him. There were a number of clubs who would have liked to take him on a permanent basis, but we wanted to keep him here and loan him out to get games, with a view to him coming back here and challenging for a place in the team.”

Waterford are back in the top flight of Irish football this season after being crowned First Division champions in 2017. The Blues kick off their Premier Division campaign by welcoming Derry City to the RSC on Friday, 16 February.

“I’m pleased to have John on board for the 2018 season, as he is a defender who has the experience of already having played in the Premier Division.” said Waterford boss Alan Reynolds.

“He has been a bit unlucky with injuries over the past couple of seasons but I’m sure that he’ll get back to his best to fulfil his potential. He is another young player who will give us options in defence and he will fit nicely into our squad ahead of the new season.”

Carlton Ubaezuona Carlton Ubaezuonu Source: Presseye/Jonathan Porter/INPHO

Meanwhile, Carlton Ubaezuonu is hoping to help Galway United to secure a swift return to the Premier Division after they were relegated on the final day of the 2017 season.

After completing his loan move to Eamonn Deacy Park from Dundalk, the 19-year-old Mayo native will hope to be involved when Shane Keegan’s side kick off their First Division campaign at home to Athlone Town on Friday, 23 February.

Ubaezuonu, who can play on the left side of defence or midfield, made his first-team debut for Dundalk against St Patrick’s Athletic near the end of the 2016 season. He was handed three more Premier Division appearances by manager Stephen Kenny in 2017.

“I felt personally that I needed a loan move to further my career and to better myself as a player,” Ubaezuonu said. “I’m very lucky to be here at a big club, so I’m very happy. The way Shane [Keegan] spoke about the club, the way he approached me, I felt he was very keen and showed the most interest in me and I was very happy to sign.

“Obviously last year wasn’t a great year for Galway United, so as a team goal, we would look to win the First Division and get back up to the Premier Division. For myself, firstly, I have to try and break into the team by doing well and trying to help the team and the fans, because it’s important for the fans to be happy about everything. It’s important for me to do well and hopefully I’ll impress the manager.

Galway boss Shane Keegan added: “Carlton is an exciting player. Obviously the standout feature is his pace, his finishing is also excellent. I went to watch him play in a game for Dundalk IT, that happened to be here in Galway last month — he finished the game with a hat-trick and was the standout player by a country mile.

“He’s a really exciting player and a player I can’t wait to work with. He’s been in a fantastic environment at Dundalk, training with the first team for the last two years despite his young age. Carlton is far from the finished product, that’s probably what gets me even more excited about him as a manager. I think our supporters will find him exciting because of his style of play.

“Hopefully when Carlton eventually goes back to Dundalk, he will be going back an even better player than what they sent.”

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Paul Dollery

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