DEADLINE DAY: Oisin Smyth in Oxford switch as Irish League clubs seal deals

Oisin Smyth has secured a switch into full-time football thanks to the ‘fantastic opportunity’ off his transfer from Dungannon Swifts to Oxford United.
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The 21-year-old makes the move out of the Irish League for an undisclosed fee on a three-and-a-half year contract and Oxford manager Karl Robinson views Smyth as ‘one for the future’.

“He’s very much one for the future,” United boss Robinson told the official club website. “He is still very raw and will have to make the adjustment to full-time football but he’s a very impressive young man who clearly wants to come here, learn, and make his mark.

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“He’s a good footballer and we look forward to working with him and seeing him develop.”

Oisin Smyth (left) on show for Dungannon Swifts. The Northern Ireland under 21 international has signed for Oxford United. Pic by PressEyeLtd.Oisin Smyth (left) on show for Dungannon Swifts. The Northern Ireland under 21 international has signed for Oxford United. Pic by PressEyeLtd.
Oisin Smyth (left) on show for Dungannon Swifts. The Northern Ireland under 21 international has signed for Oxford United. Pic by PressEyeLtd.

Smyth is relishing the chance at career progress.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said on the club website. “I’ve been really impressed with the facilities here and it’s definitely a club on the up.

“There are a lot of really good players here and I can’t wait to get out there on the training pitches, work as hard as I can, and make the most of my chance here.”

Smyth, the Northern Ireland under 21 international, has also paid tribute to the role played by Dungannon Swifts in his development.

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“I just want to say a massive thank you to Dungannon Swifts for everything they’ve done for me,” said Smyth on the Dungannon Swifts website. “Dungannon have looked after me for almost 10 years now and I owe a lot to this club.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to move to England to play professional football and when the opportunity arose for me I didn’t think twice of grasping it with both hands.

“I would like to thank both Dungannon Swifts and Oxford United for making this move happen in such short space of time.”

In other Irish League transfer news on deadline day, Coleraine have confirmed two loan exits.

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Ian Parkhill and Evan Tweed have left The Showgrounds to sign for, respectively, Institute and Ballinamallard United until the end of the current campaign.

“Ian has been a big part of our journey and is one of the longest serving players at the club,” said Coleraine boss Oran Kearney on the official club website. “He’s had a frustrating season with the form of Jamie Glackin and Conor McKendry, as well as the emergence of Patrick Kelly.

“However, Ian wants to play football and he still has plenty left in his legs and is mad keen to get back on the pitch.

“This is a good chance for him to do well and we wish him well.

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“It has been a frustrating time for Evan as he’s struggled with the form of Stephen Lowry and Josh Carson this season, and then Aaron Jarvis’ resurgence of late.

“The fact that Evan travels from Carndonagh makes things even more tough when he’s not playing and I would convince him to stay if he lived more locally.

“However, it is refreshing that he realises at his age that he needs to play games and we were not going to stand in his way.

“We would like to thank Evan for his contribution and wish him well for the future.”

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Warrenpoint Town have secured Thomas Maguire from Cliftonville on a permanent deal.

Linfield wrapped up deals for Kieron Evans and Ben Hall.

Versatile attacker Evans has agreed a loan switch from Cardiff City until the end of the season.

“Kieron won’t be arriving until the next day or so but he comes highly recommended and the coaches at Cardiff have high hopes for him and believe he has a big future in the game,” said Linfield boss David Healy on the official club website. “We are delighted to hopefully give him the opportunity for some game time in the coming months and he’s a talented player who can play in a number of attacking positions.

“His signing will strengthen the squad and provide us with further options over the coming months.”

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Hall, a defender, has put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half deal from Falkirk.

Experienced goalkeeper Sean O’Neill will finish the season on loan from Crusaders to Ballymena United.

Josh Chatee has highlighted “it’s a good league and a club with a good history” following a move to Portadown.

The England-born midfielder was previously part of Reading’s Academy before time in Sweden.

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“I’m really excited to have joined, everything moved fast and talking with Neil (McCullough) over Sunday was really positive,” said Chatee on the official Portadown website. “It’s a good league and a club with a good history, I hope to help the team stay in the division and bring a good energy to the team.”

Dungannon Swifts have bolstered the club’s attacking options with deals for Cathair Friel and Ruairi McDonald.

Friel is on board with a loan move from Coleraine until the end of the season.

“He is a proven Premier League goal scorer and those are hard to come by,” said Swifts boss Dean Shiels on the official club website. “He gives us another dimension to our attack and I’m sure he will thrive with the attacking talent we already have here at Dungannon Swifts.”

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McDonald has made a return to Dungannon Swifts for an undisclosed fee following a transfer from Annagh United.

The striker was previously on the Swifts books for six seasons before a switch to Annagh in 2018.

“Ruairi is someone who fits the profile of the player we want to bring to the club,” said Shiels on the official club website. “He’s a talented midfielder with hunger to join the club.

“He has been outstanding this season in the Lough 41 Championship and I’m delighted to get him signed.”


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