DERRY City Football Club could be involved in a controversial showdown with the FAI following the sensational suspension of the club’s teenage midfielder, Patrick McEleney, the ‘Journal’ has learned.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
McEleney, who had been placed on stand-by for the Republic of Ireland Under-19 squad for this weekend’s friendly international against Cyprus, was called up late last Monday afternoon.
He had been requestsed to report to Dublin by lunchtime on Tuesday but, it is understood, the player felt the late notification was unacceptable and failed to travel to Dublin.
Since then, it’s believed the FAI have been in contact with the Brandywell club and while the player remained in Derry and was not prepared to take a separate flight to the Mediterranean island, he has now been banned for three consecutive domestic matches!
That ban, which was issued by the FAI’s International Disciplinary Commission last night, sees McEleney miss tonight’s high profile game at the Brandywell against Shamrock Rovers, this Monday’s EA Sports League Cup fixture against Salthill Devon and next Friday night’s Premier Division game against Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds.
At the time of going to Press last night, I failed to make contact with team boss, Stephen Kenny who, no doubt, will be furious over the suspension.
Sources suggested that given the fact the player was initially only on “stand-by” and, indeed, the lateness of the call-up, a three match ban would seem to be particularly severe.
Whether Derry will appeal the ban is not yet known, but it’s also understood that McEleney had actually been in touch with the Republic of Ireland Under-19 manager, Paul Doolin, who is not happy that McEleney refused to report to Dublin.
In addition, the fact that the international game was a “friendly fixture” has annoyed the powers that be at the Brandywell and, no doubt, further contact with the made between the parties over the weekend.
One thing is for certain, McEleney will not be involved in this evening’s squad, forcing immediate changes for the fixture against the current Premier Division champions. tonight.
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