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Stephen O'Donnell is pleased to have 'big specimen' Zak Johnson on board. Ben McShane/SPORTSFILE
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Dundalk sign Sunderland defender and England underage international on loan

Shelbourne have also confirmed new contracts for two players while Brian McManus has departed Tolka Park for Bohemians.

LAST UPDATE | Feb 14th 2024, 4:05 PM

DUNDALK HAVE SIGNED Sunderland defender Zak Johsnon on loan, pending international clearance.

The 19-year-old centre-back arrives at Oriel Park ahead of the 2024 SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division campaign, which gets underway this Friday. 

Johnson joined his hometown club, Sunderland, as an eight-year-old and became the youngest outfield player to play for the Black Cats in 50 years when he made his debut against Manchester United at the age of 16 in October 2021.

He signed a professional deal with the English Championship outfit in 2022, and made his first start in a Carabao Cup meeting with Crewe Alexandra thereafter.

Johnson, who captained the England U18 side at a tournament in Portugal in the summer of 2023, went on loan to Hartlepool United from September to January, making 12 appearances for the National League side.

Johnson is the Lilywhites’ fourth, and final, loan signing, and 11th new addition ahead of the new season.

As the build up to the new seasons continues, Shelbourne have announced that defenders Gavin Molloy and Lewis Temple have both signed contract extensions, while Bohemians confirmed the signing of midfielder Brian McManus from the Tolka Park club.

Speaking of Molloy committing his future to Shels, manager Damien Duff said: “Gavin is an elite player, a dream to work with and as long as he is in Ireland, he has to play with his grandfather Theo’s club.

“He grows week in week out before our eyes and has quickly become one of the top players in the country. Simply, he is a class act on and off the pitch.”

Meanwhile, newly-promoted Waterford have finalised a permanent deal for centre back Grant Horton from Cheltenham Town.

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