Cork City have recruited very well in the off season, the signings of Toby Rowling, Colm Horgan, Aaron Barry will add to their impressive defensive qualities they had in 2017, also signing of Barry Mcnamee will prove to be a great signing technically very good midfielder with a great range of passing who looks to dictate the intensity of the play. Aaron Barry will replace the impressive on loan Burton Albion player Ryan Delaney who was excellent last season for Cork City with the experienced Alan Bennett forming a great partnership, goals dried up in 2nd half of season with the loss of Sean Maguire but in my opinion clean sheets win leagues and this proved right with Cork City they did all their work in the first half of season but were so impressive defensively. Also the loss of Kevin O’ Connor to Preston opened an opportunity for Shane Griffin the former Reading Academy Player did very well in 2nd part of the season and was very consistent, the unsung hero for me at Cork City last season was Conor Mccormack, I don’t think he got the credit he deserved, he dictated how Cork City would play from his role in front of the back 4. He was a real leader in the squad, great tactical awareness breaking up the play and getting his team on the attack. For me was the best holding midfielder in the league last season,
Dundalk have made good signings in former player Patrick Hoban, Ronan Murray from Galway who was a standout performer last season in the league the ex Ipswich Town player scoring some very good goals for Galway also retaining the services of Robbie Benson. They have also signed ex Galway Utd defender Stephen Folan who will add defensive quality to the squad, signing of Dean Jarvis from Derry City will battle it out with the consistent Dane Massey for the Left Back position. I think the loss for Dundalk will be David Mcmillan signing for ST Johnstone who was a great goal scorer for the club, He’s scored all types of goals, left foot, right foot, headers,And he’s done it at various levels, including European club football. His goals tally reached double figures in each of his four years with the Lillywhites, including seven at various stages of the Champions League and Europa League. Another massive blow for Dundalk will be if they lose Patrick Mceleney to Oldham Athletic, for me the best attacking midfielder in the league, he is so clever in his movement between the lines of the opposition but also his range of passing is fantastic. He scored some great goals for Dundalk and will be a big loss if he does move on.
St Patricks Athletic have recruited quite well in my opinion, after a disappointing season in 2017 they will look to improve in 2018 and compete for the top 4. The signings of Simon Madden, Dean Clarke, Thomas Byrne, James Doona will improve them in key areas of the pitch. Simon Madden will be a great signing in my opinion one of the most consistent defenders over last few seasons at Shamrock Rovers will add experience and quality to the squad, known as an attacking full back will suit St Pats style of play especially with Ian Bermingham on the other side, I am sure Madden will form a great partnership with Conan Byrne down the right side of the pitch. Dean Clarke a player that was at Limerick in 2017 and Shamrock Rovers before that will add another attacking dimension for the club with been able to play on either wing. A player that is quite direct and has pace be interesting to see where he fits into Liam Buckleys plans in 2018. The other two signings in James Doona and Thomas Byrne fit into Pats playing style, keeping the ball getting their attacking players into good areas of the pitch, Doona technically gifted players can play centrally behind the striker or on either side, very effective playing on the left wing coming in on his right foot, very good player in 1v1 situations stands defenders up and can go either way. Thomas Byrne similar to Doona technically very good be interesting to see where he fits in, an U19 International can play either side was previously at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Shamrock Rovers have had more outgoings than players coming in, Releasing Simon Madden[St Pats], Dave Webster [Waterford Fc] and Ryan Connolly [Galway United] they will look to bring players in before pre season are being linked to ex Aston Villa defender Kevin Toner but have to compete with St Pats for his signature. Signing of Greg Bolger is a great signing having his experience and quality will certainly boost the quality of midfielders at the club, also signing of Ethan Boyle from Finn Harps would have been strange to the neutrals in the league, a young defender with good attributes will need to learn quickly what it takes to play for Shamrock Rovers, having players like Greg Bolger, Ronan Finn will certainly help him adapt to his new environment.
Waterford Fc have made some good signings so far in the off season,signing of young Goalkeeper Niall Corbett will battle it out for the number 1 spot with the impressive Matthew Connor. Signings of the experience defender Dave Webster from Shamrock Rovers will add to their defensive qualities which they had in 2017 having the best defensive record in the league conceding 17 goals in 28 games. Bastian Hery was very impressive at Limerick Fc in the 2nd half of the season and will add real quality to Waterfords midfield alongside Paul Keegan. Ishmail Akinadae another sought after striker penned his deal with Waterford and will prove to be very good business. Very strong and athletic striker with a lot of pace will give Waterford a different dimension in the final 3rd and will be different to strikers they had last season.