'A fresh challenge'
Longford swooped for the out-of-favour Francis just as the season's transfer window was set to close. "Things had gone stale for me at Rovers, and I'm looking forward to a fresh challenge," said Francis, who had asked to leave Rovers and joined on a three-year deal. Longford lie second from bottom of the league after they were deducted nine points for fielding an ineligible player.
At the opposite end of the table, Shelbourne FC, in second place, signed former Manchester United FC trainee Craig Dean from Icelandic club KA Akureyri and immediately loaned him to first-division Dundalk FC for the rest of the season. Shelbourne also snapped up Willie Molloy from first-division Dublin City FC.
Another struggling side, Drogheda United FC, secured three new players: striker Ciaran Quinn, on loan from Saint Patrick's Athletic FC, Dubliner Stephen Gray from Southampton FC, and Brendan Gallen from Sligo Rovers FC.
A new Rover
Shamrock Rovers made one addition to their squad in ex-Leeds United AFC youngster Alan Martin, while FAI Cup holders Derry City FC bought Ruari Boyle from Omagh Town FC. St Patrick's were arguably the busiest club, however - loaning Baba Issaka and Aidan O'Keefe to first-division Kilkenny City AFC but bringing Nigerians Adeyeyi Akala and Tostao Kwashi, and Swansea City FC's Ryan Casey to Richmond Park.
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