Race for Dundalk striker hotting up as Limerick talk to Derry target

Dundalk's Marc Griffin gets well ahead of Derry City's Shane McEleney to this dropping ball in the Airtricity League Premier Division at Oriel Park
Dundalk's Marc Griffin gets well ahead of Derry City's Shane McEleney to this dropping ball in the Airtricity League Premier Division at Oriel Park

MARC Griffin’s impending switch to Derry from Dundalk seems to have taken a step closer this week, however, it would appear that another club has now arrived on the horizon seeking the services of the young striker.

arthur duffy reports

It’s understood that the clubs were close to agreeing a UEFA Training Compensation fee before newly promoted Limerick arrived on the scene at the eleventh hour in an attempt to lure the talented hitman to the newlook Market’s Field club.

Unaware of the move until yesterday afternoon, Derry had expected to officially sign the 20-year-old pending a medical yesterday, but failure to secure confirmation of what had been a verbal agreement from Oriel Park, basically brought proceedings to a halt.

Griffin, who trained again with the Derry City first team squad yesterday in the company of former “Lilywhites” team-mate, Michael Rafter, is understood to be keen to sign a contract at the Brandywell and his former club has consistently been made aware of that.

Initially, Dundalk demanded a UEFA compensation fee of £20,000 for the Co. Louth man with Derry immediately losing interest.

That fee was subsequently reduced to a figure of £15,000 which was also flatly rejected by the “Candy Stripes” Board of Directors.

However, since then, it’s believed the clubs have come close to reaching agreement with a nominal figure paid up front to Dundalk, and a further amount paid should the striker make an agreed number of competitive first team appearances while contracted to the Brandywell club.

Indeed, an informed source at the Lone Moor Road venue last night insisted that the “Candy Stripes” had expected the deal to go through, pending a medical this weekend.

“We made repeated attempts to contact the person who had been negotiating on behalf of Dundalk, but we failed to make any contact,” claimed the source.

“Negotiations had re-opened as the player has made it clear to Dundalk that he wished to follow Michael Rafter to Derry City now that his contract had expired,” he added.

Griffin has made no secret of the fact that he wished to follow Rafter to the Brandywell.

And he followed that widely reported speculation up when actually arriving at the Brandywell with Rafter who put pen to paper on a one year deal.

From that point, Griffin has remained with the “Candy Stripes” where he has continued to take part in pre-season training as a free agent.

Limerick, who secured promotion from last season’s First Division, are understood to have secured significant funding from high profile Munster business men and made quite a few new signings so it will be interesting to see any developments on that front.

Former Finn Harps’ boss, James Gallagher, has been officially installed as Derry City’s new goalkeeping coach, taking over the role from Brian Hutchinson.

Gallagher, who also represented both Harps and St. Patrick’s Athletic as a goalkeeper, will also double-up as Gerard Doherty’s replacement.