PA Archive/PA Images James Tilley (far right) is congratulated by team-mates after scoring the winner for Brighton against Barnet in the Carabao Cup in August 2017.
Cork City sign 20-year-old attacker with first-team experience at Brighton
James Tilley has signed a loan deal which will keep him on Leeside until the end of June.

CORK CITY HAVE announced the loan signing of James Tilley from English Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion.

Tilley, who is contracted to Brighton until the summer of 2020, has linked up with the SSE Airtricity League outfit after impressing during two recent pre-season outings. He is due to remain on Leeside until the end of June.

The 20-year-old English attacker has made three first-team appearances for Brighton but has mostly featured for the Seagulls’ U23 side.

At the age of 16, he made his senior debut in a Championship fixture against Middlesbrough in May 2015. He went on to play in two Carabao Cup games, scoring the only goal of last season’s second-round clash with Barnet.

Speaking about his move to John Caulfield’s side, Tilley said: “I was playing an U23 game and John was watching, so I found out afterwards that he was interested. I met him and spoke to him and it all sounded good, a club with big ambitions. I came in and trained for a few days and enjoyed it, so I am glad to have it all sorted out.

“The standard is definitely good. It is different to playing U23 football, it is a lot more physical, but it is a good standard and training has been good. I hope to bring goals and assists to the team. Now that it is done, I can relax and look to kick on ahead of the start of the league.” 

Pending receipt of international clearance, Tilley could play in Sunday afternoon’s Munster Senior Cup game against Fermoy.

IMG_4277 Cork City FC Tilley with Cork City manager John Caulfield. Cork City FC

John Caulfield said: “We are very happy; we have done a lot of work with Brighton over a number of weeks to get this over the line. James is a very exciting player with a smashing left foot, lots of pace, very creative and he can score goals. We have a lot of work to do to bed him into our system, but he is certainly a very exciting player.

“He has been at Brighton since the age of 12; he made a few first-team appearances, but they are a Premier League side and it is very difficult to get game-time in that division.”

By linking up with City ahead of the 2019 season, Tilley joins goalkeeper Tadhg Ryan (Galway United), defender Dan Casey (Bohemians), defender/midfielder Garry Comerford (Waterford), midfielder Daire O’Connor (UCD) and striker Darragh Rainsford (Pike Rovers) as the club’s newest additions.

City will contest the President’s Cup against 2018 double winners Dundalk at Turner’s Cross on 9 February. Their league campaign begins six days later away to St Patrick’s Athletic. 

Ahead of the final weekend of European pool games, Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey look at what each of the provinces can expect, and who impressed last weekend:

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