FOOTBALL: McEneff switches to Republic of Ireland

Aaron McEneff is the latest Derry man to decide to switch his allegiance from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland.
Aaron McEneff is the latest Derry man to decide to switch his allegiance from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland.
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Derry City’s Aaron McEneff is switching allegiance from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland.

It’s thought the talented midfielder is waiting on the paper work to be finalised.

Aaron McEneff celebrating while playing for Northern Ireland's Under-19 team.

Aaron McEneff celebrating while playing for Northern Ireland's Under-19 team.

The 21-year-old has represented Northern Ireland at various underage levels and played his part in the Elite squad, which won the 2014 Milk Cup Elite Section.

But the ex-Tottenham Hotspur man is now expected to join a long list of players who have availed of the Fifa loophole that allows the Republic of Ireland to select any player born on the island of Ireland.

Since his return from Spurs the midfielder has started to come into his own with his home town club.

After a few months of settling back into life in the Maiden City, McEneff forced his way into the Brandywell men’s starting line-up.

This season he has scored twice and played his part in Kenny Shiels’ side’s good campaign, which currently sees Derry sitting in third spot in the Premier Division table.

The eligibility ruling has been a touchy subject for a decade, with the Irish FA and boss Michael O’Neill frustrated over the Republic of Ireland’s poaching of players.

In recent years the likes of West Brom Albion winger James McClean, Stoke City centre-back Marc Wilson, Everton midfielder Darron Gibson, Bournemouth man Eunan O’Kane and Blackburn Rovers defender Shane Duffy all came through the underage set-up with the Irish FA, before deciding to make the switch.