2014 was a season in which the standard of the football across the league improved. This raked up interest in players from not only within the domestic league but also across the Irish sea with British sides taking an interest in some of the League of Ireland’s hottest talents.
Here we take a look at five of the most talked about transfers which have taken place in the LOI in 2014.
5. Barry Molloy – Derry City to Crusaders
Derry City stalwart and captain Barry Molloy was certainly a shock departure from Derry. A servant of the club for ten seasons, his career with the Candystripes was cut short due to a stalemate in negotiations which saw Molloy subsequently leave for Crusaders, according to the Derry Daily.
Molloy leaves behind a fantastic legacy, having won eight titles in his time at the club, including an amazing five League Cups, two FAI Cups and a First Division title in 2010.
It’s not been the best of off-seasons transfer-wise for Derry with the recent news that Rory Patterson as well as defender Shane McEleney have both been transfer listed ahead of next month’s transfer window.
4. Gearóid Morrissey – Cork City to Cambridge United
Gearóid Morrissey’s move to Cambridge United has finally been confirmed and the 23-year-old will move to the U’s in January.
Morrissey was key to the Leesiders’ midfield last term as they pushed, but were eventually unsuccessful in their chase for the title. Morrissey is no stranger to English football, having played with Blackburn Rovers in the past and a chance at playing regularly in League Two must have been too tempting for the Corkman.
Morrissey leaves a void to fill as Cork City aim to replicate the performances they managed last season which kept the title race alive until the last game of the season. Morrissey will also join Limerick’s Rory Gaffney at the U’s next month.
3. Keith Fahey – St. Patrick’s Athletic to Shamrock Rovers
The Dublin-born Fahey’s controversial move across Dublin to join Shamrock Rovers from St. Pat’s will be a major talking point as both sides square-up to each other on the opening day of the season.
Fahey returned to Ireland last year having spent the preceding seasons at Birmingham. It was a surprise move that Fahey decided to return home and it was even more surprising to see Fahey move to the Tallaght club for next season.
Arguably one of the league’s most technically gifted players, Fahey should give the Hoops an extra dimension next year as the club aims to rekindle it’s successes of years past.
2. Pat Hoban – Dundalk to Oxford United
Dundalk’s star man last season previously rejected the offer of a trial at Kilmarnock before eventually signing for Oxford United.
Some would have seen the 23-year-old as a level above the quality of Oxford having proved his goalscoring credentials with 20 goals for the Lilywhites as they marched towards the Premier Division title.
He was a feared striker throughout the league with the biggest barren streak being just four games at the beginning of the season.
Dundalk will be one of the favourites to claim the league title again in 2015, however doing so without the services of Hoban will be a significant hindrance to that ambition.
1. Brian Lenihan – Cork City to Hull City
Lenihan was the league’s most high profile mid-season departure as he made the move from Cork City to Hull City following much speculation and interest from other English clubs.
The 20-year-old Corkman displayed some outstanding performances while at Turner’s Cross. Although a right-back, Lenihan was exceptional at getting forward with blistering pace and skill to outwit his opponents. He is a player in which many similarities can be made with the now world-class Seamus Coleman.
A short loan move to Blackpool and a call-up to Martin O’Neill’s squad have since followed for the young right-back. His transition from Premier Division player to senior international call-ups has been swift. At 20, there may be yet much more to come from Lenihan.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena
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