Conor McDonald has progressed on the rebuild of Cobh Ramblers by bringing in four more new faces over the summer transfer window.
However, in contrast to their earlier business, there were more players going out of the door than coming in, with seventeen players going out of the door on both permanent or temporary deals.
The first player coming in was former Liverpool graduate Layton Stewart from Halesowen Town in the National League North in England.
The 19-year-old Scouse striker scored 9 goals in 24 starts in the league under former Newcastle defenders’ Mike Williamson who guided Halesowen Town to survival in the sixth tier with a 20th placed finish.
Stewart finished in two Team of the Week’s during his time in the West Midlands.
He has signed a contract until December 2024 on a weekly wage of €500. He will wear the number nine shirt for the remainder of the 2022 season in Ireland.
Conor McDonald did scour the international youth teams to pick up two Swiss Under-21 players on free transfers. The first through the door was 17-year-old central midfielder Dario de Pellegrin.
De Pellegrin has made four caps for the Switzerland Under-21s and came through the youth teams at his boyhood club FC Hochdorf and has earned a reputation for his free-kick taking during his time in the limelight in his home country.
The second Swiss player to come through the Cobh door was goalkeeper Josef Perrin on a free transfer from his boyhood club FC Chur 97.
The 17-year-old played alongside fellow countryman Dario de Pellegrin for Switzerland Under-21s and has six caps at that level.
Perrin signs a €500 per week contract until December 2024 and will wear the number 14 shirt for the club this season.
McDonald’s fourth and final arrival was Spanish striker Xavier Río who joins the club following his release from European giants Barcelona on a free transfer.
Río played in the Barcelona youth teams for four years after joining aged 12 in 2018 but was released on 1st of July upon the expiry of his youth deal at Camp Nou.
The 16-year-old signs a €120 per week deal until December 2025 and has been given the number 33 shirt for this season at Cobh Ramblers.
Despite the arrivals, Conor McDonald did try to cut down on the club’s bills by sending away a lot of players.
Rudy Gestede did retire at the age of 34 having spent five months with Cobh Ramblers after joining in January on a free transfer from Middlesbrough after an illustrious career including spells in the English Premier League with Aston Villa and Middlesbrough.
Some of 2021s title-winning side were also sent away permanently with Connor Maxwell, Jamie Docherty and Jamie Thornton all leaving with Thornton raking in a €8.5K fee from English Championship side Blackburn Rovers to join their Under-23s side.
The two big moves of the summer both involved Dundalk as they took striker Leon Middleton and Fynn Talley from Cobh for a combined fee of €175K which greatly improved the state of McDonald’s finances with some suspecting Cobh’s new Swiss signing Josef Perrin coming in to replace Talley.
Dundalk also took young English midfielder Lewis Smith in a €5.75K after spending the 2021/22 campaign on loan at National League North’s Curzon Ashton.
Going out on loan were a few of this season’s signings as Tommy Hughes, Neil McGovern, Ahkeem Rose and Harvey Smith all heading out on loan deals. Tom Harrison has also been on a six-month loan spell to First Division side Galway United.
The boys need a bit of a boost every now and then midway through months, that's what I'm figuring out! The Munster Senior Cup is a great thing to be involved in, even though the prizes are small. The achievement makes the squad happy, that's for sure.
The defence is incredibly leaky but I'm sure that's more of a compliment to other teams' attacks as much as ours is a great attack. I would say the same about the new deal