There were no games this weekend in the SSE Airtricity League with the mid-season break in effect. This was introduced when the League switched from Winter to Summer football at the behest of PFAI who wanted to allow their players a chance to holiday during the Summer. Clubs have mixed feelings about and indeed generally the rule is that if players do go on holiday then they don’t get paid as they aren’t available for training. On the whole though it can allow clubs the chance to take stock as they prepare for the second half of the season. In the Premier Division with Cork City having effectively wrapped up the title the focus for the other clubs will be on qualifying for Europe and more importantly staying up. Cork are also on the lookout for players given that Sean Maguire will be moving to Preston who are also rumored to be interested in their left back Kevin O’Connor. Kieran Sadlier who has been Sligo Rovers best player remains one of their main targets but he is also on the radar of Dundalk and also a couple of clubs in England. If he was to leave Rovers it would be a huge blow as he has had a hand in nearly every goal they have scored this season.
Also they were one of the first clubs to make a signing as Gerard Lyttle has brought in midfielder Rhys McCabe who was most recently with Dunfermline and also had spells with Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday. Lyttle is looking to bring in at least four new players with the same amount expected to be leaving the Showgrounds. He won’t be eligible to play though until the opening of the transfer window on 1st July. There will be a lot of movement of players both to and from the UK in the Summer as players will come back and look to restablish their careers. One man who is sure to be in demand is striker Pat Hoban who has just been released by Mansfield and was previously with Dundalk, they were rumored to be interested in signing him back. Finn Harps will be finally able to field Haitian international Pascal Millien, he actually signed a few weeks into the start of the new season but had to wait for his work permit and now that it has come through he will be pitched into action straightaway. An exciting winger who has previously played with Rovers where he won the league in 2012. He has also had spells with clubs in Bangladesh, Thailand and America.
Probably the most important game when action does resume in the League will be the meeting of Rovers and Galway United in Sligo this coming Saturday night. Both teams are currently in the bottom three meaning a win is a must. Ciaran Nugent is after leaving Galway, the young American goal-keeper went there looking to claim the number one spot but found it hard to break into the first team and is now on the look out for a new club. Galway will also find it hard to keep hold of their in form striker Ronan Murray who will be keen to move to one of the top clubs in Ireland or indeed back to the UK where he previously played with Ipswich and Notts County. As best I can I will keep a track of all the movement to and fro as it shapes up to be one of the important periods for a number of clubs in the League.