LOI transfer wrap: Franco Umeh completes Crystal Palace switch as Kerry snap up experienced defender


Credit: Kerry FC

Cork City have confirmed the departure of striker Franco Umeh, with the teenager joining Crystal Palace.

Umeh has been on the books of City’s academy for a number of years and made his first-team breakthrough at the end of last season.

But Premier League side Palace have swooped for his signature – with the striker joining their Under-18 outfit.

He joins former Bohemians defender Sean Grehan at the club, while Jake O’Brien, also formerly of Cork City, is on loan from Palace at Belgian side RWD Molenbeek.

Former Drogheda United midfielder Killian Phillips has also spent time with the South London club at Under-23 level, and is now on loan at Shrewsbury Town in League One.

And Umeh, 18, will be hoping to have a similar impact at Selhurst Park.

He said: “I can't put it into words. I’m full of joy, it’s such a precious and priceless moment.

“The hard work starts now. I think we’re really going to step on the gas pedal.

“I feel like Palace has the coaches and the facilities to develop my game to an even better level.”

Meanwhile, Kerry have signed defender Kalen Spillane ahead of their debut campaign.

Spillane, 31, previously played for Cork City and Sligo Rovers before moving to Australia to play for St Kilda’s.

But following his return home he has played for Munster Senior League teams Avondale United and Carrigaline United.

And he becomes the latest to commit to the Kingdom’s cause for 2023 at Mounthawk Park.

Spillane said: “I’m delighted to be back in the League of Ireland. To represent Kerry is an honour for both myself and my family.

“I’m looking forward to the journey ahead this season and I am eager to get going on February 17th. I want to repay the club and the manager for the faith they have shown in me.”