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League of Ireland duo complete moves to St Mirren

Jamie McGrath and Conor McCarthy have been snapped up by the Scottish Premiership club.

Cork City defender Conor McCarthy heads the ball clear despite the attention of Dundalk winger Michael Duffy.
Cork City defender Conor McCarthy heads the ball clear despite the attention of Dundalk winger Michael Duffy.
Image: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

Updated Jan 7th 2020, 2:56 PM

SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP CLUB St Mirren have today announced two signings from the League of Ireland, with out-of-contract Dundalk attacker Jamie McGrath joining Cork defender Conor McCarthy at the club. 

The Buddies, who are managed by Waterford native – and once-capped former Ireland international – Jim Goodwin, currently sit in 10th place in the Scottish top flight.

McGrath, the 2018 PFAI Young Player of the Year, joins following the expiration of his contract with Dundalk. He has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the club, subject to international clearance. 

“Things started happening over the last few weeks and once I got chatting to the manager and Gus [MacPherson, the club's Technical Director] I couldn’t wait to get it done”, McGrath told the club’s website

“The manager really sold the club and Sean McLoughlin who was here had nothing but good things to say.

“Jim seemed really driven and matches my ambitions as well so I can’t wait to get started.

“The facilities here seem great and I’m looking forward to experiencing a match day at the stadium.

“I’m a hard-working player and like to give my all and after that it’s up to the fans to decide. Hopefully I can show the fans what I can do and be a creative presence on the pitch.”

McGrath enjoyed a trophy-laden stint with Dundalk, winning two league titles and an FAI Cup since joining from Saint Pat’s in 2017. 

jamie-mcgrath-celebrates-after-the-game File photo of Jamie McGrath in action for Dundalk. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

The aforementioned McLoughlin, once of Cork City, spent the first half of this season on loan at Paisley and has now returned to Hull City. He has been replaced by his former Cork team-mate Conor McCarthy on a two-and-a-half-year deal. 

“Conor ticks all the boxes,” Goodwin said. “With Sean McLoughlin going back to Hull it was a position that we had to bring in at least one.

“Conor is one that we looked at in the summer but couldn’t do anything about it then. But with the Irish league finishing in November we were able to put things in motion and thankfully we have been able to agree a deal with Cork City and with Conor.

“I have seen him in the flesh and we have watched a lot of footage on him. The references that we got from people that I know over there were fantastic as well.” 

McCarthy, who can also operate at right-back, became a regular fixture in the Cork City defence in 2018. After taking on the captain’s armband, he ended 2019 by winning the club’s Player of the Year award following a disappointing campaign overall for the Leesiders.

The former Blarney United player now follows in the footsteps of the likes of Shane Griffin, Dan Casey, Conor McCormack, Garry Buckley, Graham Cummins and Karl Sheppard by finding a new club for 2020.

“I have loved my time at Cork City FC,” McCarthy said. “Since I joined from my schoolboy club, Blarney United, I have really enjoyed representing my hometown team, and it was a particular honour to be captain last season.

“Now is the time for me to move on to the next stage of my career, but I would like to thank everyone I have worked with during my time at Cork City and wish the club the very best of luck for 2020 and beyond.”

Although McCarthy’s contract with Cork City had expired, the League of Ireland Premier Division club are entitled to training compensation from St Mirren due to his age.

With reporting by Gavin Cooney

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