Football | St Mirren sign League of Ireland duo

St Mirren have signed League of Ireland duo Jamie McGrath and Conor McCarthy.

The Scottish club have snapped up McGrath following the expiry of the midfielder’s contract at Dundalk, and have agreed a deal with Cork City for defender McCarthy.

The duo, who have both represented the Republic of Ireland at underage level, have both signed two-and-a-half year contracts with St Mirren, who are managed by Waterford native Jim Goodwin.

“Things started happening over the last few weeks and once I got chatting to the manager and Gus [MacPherson] I couldn’t wait to get it done,” 23-year-old McGrath told the St Mirren website.

“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.”

Athboy man McGrath enjoyed three wildly successful seasons with Dundalk, winning two SSE Airtricity League titles, two EA Sports Cups and the FAI Cup.

The 2018 PFAI Young Player of the Year made 118 appearances for the Louth club – scoring 14 goals and registering 23 assists – after joining the Lilywhites from St. Patrick’s Athletic ahead of the 2017 season.

“Jamie’s a really exciting one,” Goodwin said.

“He’s been a big player for Dundalk and key to their success of recent seasons. He can play a number of positions across the front area. He’s technically very good and very comfortable on the ball.”

Defender McCarthy, who made over 50 appearances for Cork City, has represented Stephen Kenny’s Republic of Ireland U21 side.

The 21-year-old says it is time for him to move on to the next chapter of his career.

“I have loved my time at Cork City. 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.”

McCarthy will help to fill the void left by former Cork defender Sean McLoughlin’s return to parent club Hull City following a loan spell at St Mirren Park.

 “Conor ticks all the boxes,” Goodwin claimed.

“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.”

St Mirren are currently 10th in the Scottish top flight, a point above Hamilton Academical and six clear of Hearts