John Egan, Enda Stevens, David McGoldrick, and possibly Scott Hogan will be plying their trade in the Premier League next season after Sheffield United secured promotion to the Premier League this weekend.
Hogan, on loan from Aston Villa until the end of the season, put the Blades in front with a deft finish in Saturday’s Championship clash with relegated Ipswich before a second half goal wrapped up a 2-0 win to leave the Bramall Lane outfit six points clear of third-placed Leeds and with a vastly superior goal-difference to boot.
That meant Leeds had to beat in-form Aston Villa yesterday to mathematically take the race to the last day of the regular Championship season but could only draw 1-1 at Elland Road.
Hogan’s goal was only the second of his loan spell at the club and where he’ll be next season is unclear.
Egan and Stevens are far more established, proving themselves key components of a defence that has been breached just 39 times this season.
At the other end of the pitch, McGoldrick has provided leadership and goals to propel Sheffield United’s promotion charge. When he signed McGoldrick as a free agent last July, Blades boss Chris Wilder said: “He’s a great link player, has a wealth of Championship experience, and he may be coming into the best years of his career.”
What prophetic words those proved and on Saturday Wilder praised the 31-year-old striker.
“David’s been amazing for us,” he said. “He’s experienced at international level and he’s been a calming influence in the group. He’s been outstanding, David has stepped up.” Richard Keogh could also be part of the Irish contingent in the Premier League next season after Derby took a huge step towards securing the final play-off spot after a 2-0 win at Bristol City.
Elsewhere Alan Browne was among the scorers as Preston and Sheffield Wednesday played out a 3-3 draw while Martin O’Neill’s Nottingham Forest climbed to 10th after a 1-0 win at QPR.
In League One, James Collins took his tally for the season to 25 but title-chasing Luton lost 2-1 at Burton.
Elsewhere, Josh Cullen’s first goal for Charlton helped the Addicks to a 2-0 win at Gillingham while Billy Clarke and Eoin Doyle both scored as already-relegated Bradford City won 3-2 at Scunthorpe United.
There was only one Irish scorer in Saturday League Two action, Kevin Dawson netting in Cheltenham Town’s 3-2 win over Swindon.