Lettermacaward native Carl McHugh has signed for Airtricity League Premier Division side Dundalk on loan for the rest of the season from Championship outfit Reading.
The 18-year-old, who can play at centre-half or left-back, follows in the footsteps of Michael Hector, who returned to The Royals last month due to injury and Dundalk manager Ian Foster has expressed his delight at capturing the Republic of Ireland U-19 international.
McHugh has been at Reading since 2009 when he joined the club’s academy on a three-year scholarship and this summer he was rewarded with a one-year professional contract. He previously played for Dungloe Town and has captained Ireland at U-16 and U-17 level, while he was part of the U-19 squad that qualified for the upcoming Uefa European U-19 Championship finals.
He is currently on standby for the finals squad which was announced last Tuesday for the tournament which will take place in Bucharest in Romania later this month.
McHugh was at Dundalk’s game against Saint Patrick’s Athletic game on Sunday after meeting up with his new teammates earlier in the day. And, after putting pen to paper at Oriel Park
yesterday morning, he will make his debut for the club in the A Championship tonight when Dundalk reserves host Sligo Rovers. Having returned to pre-season training last week, it will be his second piece of action in the space of four days having played the second half with Reading against Eastleigh in a friendly on Saturday afternoon.
“I know, having seen Carl, that he is very competitive,” Dundalk manager Ian Foster said. “He can play left-side centre-half and left-back. He plays on the front foot, he can handle the ball, he is a very intelligent young individual and we’re delighted that Reading have allowed him to come here.
He is on standby for the U-19 tournament, and we know that we have got ourselves a decent young player here. That’s what we are trying to do, to bring young players in to help their development. We hope that we help them and that they help us.
Meanwhile, Airtricity League Premier Division hopefuls Sligo Rovers have swooped to sign two of Donegal’s brightest young footballers.
Rovers announced the signings of Irish U-17 internationals Liam Martin, a striker from Donegal Town and Buncrana native and left winger, Con McLoughlin. Both players will initially join up with the clubs U-19 side under the stewardship of former Finn Harps captain Gavin Dykes and they will also train with the first team squad.
“Since I came to Sligo I’ve been encouraging the club to bring in the best youth talent in the region and we have done that in signing Con and Liam,” Sligo manager Paul Cook said. “They are two very talented players albeit a bit raw but I look forward to working with them and seeing if they can progress though into the first team.
“Both were being sought by many clubs including a couple of cross channel ones and I’m delighted that they’ve chosen to sign for us. They will go in with Gavin in the U-19’s and they’ll learn a lot from him and we’ll see how they go from there.”