CORK City boss John Caulfield continued his rebuilding project with the major signing of Derry City’s Barry McNamee while tying veteran defender Alan Bennett on a two-year extension.
The 25-year-old McNamee from Ramelton in Donegal is a big coup for the double champions, and his move sent shockwaves around the Brandywell. McNamee, one of the most creative midfield players in the league, was the Candystripes' joint top scorer with 10 goals last season and has played over 150 times for Derry.
“I am thrilled to get it done. It was a tough season at Derry with everything that happened, so I took my time to think about everything, and I decided that this was the right move for me. I want to score more and set up more. I want to be part of the team that has just won the league and FAI Cup double and I want to win more trophies,” said McNamee.
“The way the fans fill Turner’s Cross; it’s hard to compare it with anywhere else. It shows the passion in the city for the club and it is great to be a part of it. I have come down here because I want to win trophies,” he added.
The Derry Journal’s sports editor, Arthur Duffy explained that McNamee’s departure had shocked Derry fans.
“Barry has been one of Derry’s most creative and talented players ever and he spent five years at the club coming through the youth system. He can play in the No. 10 role or wide on the left side of midfield and he’s got a great left foot.
"He a great playmaker and makes great runs coming in on the blindside to score goals. He had trials with Nottingham Forest a few years ago but nothing came of it and now Cork City’s gain is very much Derry’s loss I am afraid,” he added.
City boss John Caulfield said: “Barry is a fantastic, creative player. He is a perfect player to come into our team. He’s energetic, has lots of experience and is coming to us at the prime of his career.” “He is another fantastic signing for us. He scores goals from midfield and he also creates a lot. He can open up the best of defences and he is exactly the type of player we want going into next season and Champions’ League football,” he added.
Alan Bennett has committed his future to the club as well and put pen to paper before jetting off to New Zealand on holiday.
He will combine his playing duties with an increasing involvement in the club’s underage structures and is currently on the UEFA Elite Youth ‘A’ license course.
“I am really happy that John has shown the trust in me. This has been a fantastic year for the club and I feel my performances have merited this, so I am really proud,” he added.