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Dublin: 2°C Friday 7 May 2021

The 9 League of Ireland players who made cross-channel moves in January

There was plenty of movement from SSE Airtricity League clubs to the UK during the January transfer window.

Aaron Drinan (Waterford to Ipswich Town)

Large Source: Ipswich Town FC

The 19-year-old Cork-born striker completed his move to Portman Road on a three-and-a-half year deal this month, having been training with Mick McCarthy’s side since the conclusion of the League of Ireland season in October.

“He’s really impressed me,” McCarthy told the club’s website. “He hasn’t looked out of place in training at all. The only frustrating thing is that he hasn’t been able to play but he’s ready to go now.”

After learning his trade with Carrigaline United and Cobh Ramblers, Drinan moved to Cork City and scored for their U19 side against both HJK Helsinki and AS Roma in their 2016 Uefa Youth League campaign.

Having not made a first-team league appearance for City, he moved to Waterford at the end of July. He played six times as they sealed promotion back to the top flight by winning the First Division title.

According to the East Anglian Daily Times, Ipswich were set to pay Waterford €100,000 for Drinan. He has yet to make his first-team debut for the Championship club but was included on the bench for their recent games against Sheffield United, Leeds United and Bolton Wanderers.

Barry Cotter (Limerick to Ipswich Town)

Large Source: Ipswich Town FC

Having played 11 first-team games for Limerick in 2017, the 19-year-old from Ennis has signed a deal with Mick McCarthy’s side which will keep him with the English Championship club until the summer of 2021.

Cotter, who has been capped by the Republic of Ireland at U19 level, started out as a striker before being converted into a defender. He has recently established himself as an accomplished right-back who can also play in the centre of defence.

“I can’t wait to get going now,” Cotter said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to learn here. It’s a big step-up for me but I’m confident it’s one I can make.

“I’ve not set myself too many goals yet. I’d like to break into the first-team obviously, but for now I just want to get my head down and work hard and show people what I can do. With the manager and coaching staff here I feel I can really improve as a player and that’s my main aim for now.”

Chiedozie Ogbene (Limerick to Brentford)

Large Source: Brentford FC

Another Corkman who left his hometown club for a League of Ireland neighbour in 2017, Ogbene’s move to Brentford was confirmed on Tuesday. The 20-year-old wide attacker has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Championship club for an undisclosed fee.

Ogbene makes the switch a year after joining Limerick from Cork City. He scored eight times in 32 appearances for the Blues last season, as they finished 7th in the Premier Division and reached the semi-finals of the FAI Cup.

The Nigerian-born player made his breakthrough with Cork City at the close of the 2015 season and went on to feature during their 2016 campaign, coming off the bench in their FAI Cup final win that year against Dundalk.

“We have been monitoring Chiedozie for quite a while and we like what he can bring,” said Brentford manager Dean Smith. “He came over to train with us and we could see that his personality and character ticked all the boxes for us. We are looking forward to working with him and seeing how he develops.”

David McMillan (Dundalk to St Johnstone)

5a3140a6c6ae8976175928 Source: Graeme Hart

After scoring 23 goals in all competitions for Dundalk in 2017, McMillan joined the Scottish Premiership club on a two-and-a-half-year deal following the expiration of his contract at Oriel Park.

McMillan spent the past four seasons at Dundalk, with whom he won three SSE Airtricity League Premier Division titles, one FAI Cup and two League [EA Sports] Cups.

“David’s a player I’ve known for quite some time and I knew he was coming out of contract and felt the time was right to make a move,” St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright said.

“He’s scored all types of goals — left foot, right foot, headers — and he’s done it at various levels including European club football, so he has experience of a higher level than just League of Ireland. He’s a hard worker, a good age and without doubt capable of making the step-up.”

The 28-year-old Dubliner made his debut for St Johnstone as a 57th-minute substitute in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Partick Thistle, during which he was fouled for the penalty from which the Saints scored their only goal. However, he could now be facing a spell on the sidelines after sustaining a hamstring injury.

Fuad Sule (Bohemians to Barnet)

Large (1) Source: Barnet FC

The 20-year-old holding midfielder came close to linking up with Barnet during the summer but the move could not be completed before the transfer deadline.

Sule, who was named SWAI/SSE Airtricity player of the month last July, moved to the League Two club for an undisclosed fee after he signed a new contract with Bohs in August.

The Nigerian-born youngster spent a year at Dalymount Park, having joined the Gypsies from St Patrick’s Athletic in December 2016. He was also previously at Shamrock Rovers.

Sule made his Barnet debut as a second-half substitute in their 2-0 defeat away to Crawley Town on 13 January.

Patrick McEleney (Dundalk to Oldham Athletic)

Large (2) Source: Oldham Athletic FC

With his contract at Dundalk expiring at the end of the 2017 SSE Airtricity League season, McEleney moved on a free transfer to Oldham, signing a two-and-a-half-year deal with the League One outfit.

After six seasons with his hometown club Derry City, the 25-year-old playmaker spent two seasons at Oriel Park, during which he won the Premier Division title and the EA Sports Cup, as well as playing a significant role in the Lilywhites’ memorable European run in 2016.

McEleney — who has represented both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland at underage level — scored 11 times in all competitions in 2017, including several goal-of-the-season contenders. Oldham boss Richie Wellens subsequently described him as “the best footballer” in the League of Ireland.

This is his second spell in England. He previously spent 18 months with Sunderland but returned to Derry due to homesickness ahead of the 2010 season. Due to a combination of injury and a delay in his registration, McEleney is still waiting to make his debut for his new club.

Shane Blaney (Finn Harps to Doncaster Rovers)

Large (3) Source: Doncaster Rovers FC

A 19-year-old defender who made his first-team debut for Finn Harps last September, the Letterkenny native has been described as one for the future by Doncaster boss Darren Ferguson.

Blaney signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the League One club, who also brought in former Dundalk defender Andy Boyle on loan until the end of the season from Preston this week.

“The aim is just to get as fit and strong as I can using the facilities here and put in the hard work,” said Blaney. “If I keep working hard I can eventually get into the first-team.

“I’m working with the fitness coaches now, then hopefully I can get a few games for the development team and show the gaffer and the lads what I can do.”

Simon Power (UCD to Norwich City)

image Source: Dan Chapman

The Ireland underage international moved to Norwich on an 18-month deal after a successful trial period with the Championship club, where he joins the development squad.

Power, a 19-year-old winger from Greystones, played 10 times for UCD in the SSE Airtricity League First Division in 2017, having previously represented Cabinteely.

Power made his senior debut for Cabinteely as a 17-year-old in May 2015 and moved to UCD to join their U19 squad ahead of the 2016 campaign. He joins Ireland international Wes Hoolahan on the books at Carrow Road.

Warren O’Hora (Bohemians to Brighton & Hove Albion)

Large (4) Source: Paul Hazelwood

After impressing during a trial period, the young Bohemians defender signed for Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion on a two-and-a-half year deal.

The 18-year-old Ireland underage international, who signed a new contract at Dalymount Park in August, moved to the Amex Stadium for an undisclosed fee and will initially join Brighton’s U23 team.

O’Hora came through the Bohs youth set-up and captained the club’s U17 and U19 sides before becoming a first-team regular during the second half of last season under Keith Long.

The centre-back made his senior league debut against St Patrick’s Athletic in June and attracted interest from several clubs in England before completing the switch to Brighton.

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