Kevin O’Connor’s move to Preston confirmed
Cork City defender will join Daryl Horgan, Sean Maguire, Andy Boyle and Alan Browne at Deepdale
Cork City’s Sean Maguire and Kevin O’Connor will both join Preston at the end of July. Photo: Mailiis Ollino/Inpho
A day after Simon Grayson’s departure for Sunderland had appeared to throw his move into doubt, Cork City left back Kevin O’Connor’s transfer to Preston North End has been confirmed.
The 22-year-old had been linked with a move to Deepdale at the start of June when Seán Maguire’s transfer had been agreed but several weeks on, City have announced that the two clubs have reached an agreement regarding the defender.
Like Maguire, he will stay at Turner’s Cross until the end off July so he will be available for City’s games in the next round of the Europa League – assuming they do not squander the advantage earned with the 2-0 away win to Levadia Tallinn.
O’Connor, who has primarily played as a left-back, has made some 70 appearance for the club since joining in April 2015. Before that he had played around 50 games for Waterford United.
Over the past couple of seasons he has gradually emerged as a key player for City and played all 90 minutes of last year’s cup final defeat of Dundalk. He now joins the large contingent of Ireland players at Preston which includes Daryl Horgan, Andy Boyle and another former City player, Alan Browne.
“While we never want a player to move on during the season, it shows how far the club has come and it is a fantastic deal for Kevin which puts him at a higher level,” said City boss John Caulfield. “It also increases his chances of coming into the reckoning for an international call-up.
“Over last two and a half years, our supporters can see how Kevin has developed in the team and how he has progressed. While he has had other opportunities to move previously, he saw the bigger picture and waited for the right move.
“Kevin is typical of the kind of player that we love at this club; he is hard-working, dedicated and does everything every day to be the best he can. With Kevin going, it now opens the opportunity for other players in the squad to stake a claim.”
O’Connor says the move is a “massive opportunity” which he is hoping to make the most of.
“I couldn’t be happier to sign,” he told Preston’s official website. “From the first minute the club showed an interest in me they were keen to sign me and they were the ones who pursued it. It’s a great club, a big club and there’s a big fan base here so I’m just excited to get started.
“I know a few of the boys already obviously with Seán [Maguire] moving over and Alan [Browne]; that will help me settle in quicker, but I wasn’t really thinking of that, I was just delighted to be joining, but that is always helpful when you know a couple of the boys.
“I played against a couple of the boys last year in Boyle and Horgan so I’m just looking forward to seeing all the lads now and getting sorted. I can’t wait now, as a kid growing up you would be following it and now to actually get the chance to play in it is just exciting and I can’t wait to get started.”