St Mirren sign Cork City's Conor McCarthy and Dundalk's Jamie McGrath

St Mirren have signed Cork City's player of the season Conor McCarthy and Dundalk title-winner Jamie McGrath.

St Mirren sign Cork City's Conor McCarthy and Dundalk's Jamie McGrath

St Mirren have signed Cork City's player of the season Conor McCarthy and Dundalk title-winner Jamie McGrath.

The 21-year-old centre-back McCarthy has been signed on a two-and-a-half-year deal to replace another City academy graduate Sean McLoughlin, with McGrath also signing until June 2022.

McLoughlin played every minute of St Mirren's Scottish Premiership campaign until his loan deal from Hull City expired at the end of December and the Buddies will be hoping for a similar impact from McCarthy, who was Cork City's top-scorer last season with six goals in 42 games.

"Conor ticks all the boxes," said St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin, a Waterford-native who was once capped by Ireland.

"With Sean McLoughlin going back to Hull, it was a position that we had to bring in at least one.

"Conor is one that we looked at in the summer but couldn’t do anything about it then. But with the Irish League finishing in November, we were able to put things in motion and thankfully we have been able to agree a deal with Cork City and with Conor.

"I have seen him in the flesh, Gus (MacPherson, technical director) has seen him in the flesh, and we have watched a lot of footage on him. The references that we got from people that I know over there were fantastic as well."

McCarthy joined City's youth ranks in 2014, making his first-team debut in 2016. He won the League and FAI Cup double with City the following season.

"I have loved my time at Cork City FC. Since I joined from my schoolboy club, Blarney United, I have really enjoyed representing my hometown team, and it was a particular honour to be captain last season.

"Now is the time for me to move on to the next stage of my career, but I would like to thank everyone I have worked with during my time at Cork City and wish the club the very best of luck for 2020 and beyond."

City boss Neale Fenn said: "Conor has been with the club for a number of years now but the chance has arisen for him to move on and it was a move he was keen to make.

"He has been an excellent player for the club, and he leaves with our thanks and very best wishes for the future."

St Mirren, who are 10th in the Scottish Premiership, later sealed a deal for out-of-contract Dundalk attacker McGrath, subject to international clearance.

McGrath has won back-to-back titles with the Lilywhites since signing from St Pat's in 2017.

"Things started happening over the last few weeks and once I got chatting to the manager and Gus, I couldn't wait to get it done," said McGrath.

The manager really sold the club and Sean McLoughlin who was here had nothing but good things to say

"Jim seemed really driven and matches my ambitions as well so I can't wait to get started.

"The facilities here seem great and I'm looking forward to experiencing a matchday at the stadium.

"I'm a hard-working player and like to give my all and after that, it's up to the fans to decide. Hopefully, I can show the fans what I can do and be a creative presence on the pitch."

Goodwin added: "Jamie’s a really exciting one. He can play a number of positions across the front area. He can play that number 10, he can play right or left, he’s technically very good and very comfortable on the ball.

"He’s been a big player for Dundalk over the last few seasons and he’s been a key member to their success of recent seasons."

Both McCarthy and McGrath could be in line for a debut in Saturday week's Scottish Cup fourth round tie against non-league Broxburn Athletic.

- Updated with confirmation of Jamie McGrath's signing at 2:43pm.

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