Shane next to leave - claims Devine

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SHANE McEleney could be the next round player to leave the Brandywell for full-time football in England, that the view of Derry boss, Declan Dewvine.

In fact, performances by the club’s newlook, young side has continued to raise quite a few eyebrows with Irish commentators suggesting that the City will be off-loading further youngsters to England this summer.

And given the Brandywell club’s professional demolition of Bohemians last Friday night when netting four goals without reply, few could argue that Derry are genuine title contenders this season.

The victory, which kept the pressure on Sligo Rovers at the top of the Airtricity League table, saw goals from Patrick McEleney, Michael Rafter, Ryan McBride and Barry McNamee present team boss, Devine, with his fourth consecutive league victory, a statistic which left the Derry management a very happy group.

Speaking to the assembled Press after the match in Dalymount, Devine heaped praise on his players after what had been a comprehensive win over a spirited young Bohs side.

While boasting experience in the vital areas, Derry also have a wealth of skilful young players who make up the core of the club’s first team squad this season and they have shown that playing at the top level locally doesn’t seem to have caused them any problems.

And Devine was keen to point out how his young players continued to mature as the season progressed, “especially the back-four” which had an average age of just 22 and a half years for last Friday night’s match.

“I’m particularly delighted with our back four. I think they’ve really matured. There’s nobody in the defence over 24 years of age. I think they’re maturing very well and Shane McEleney and Ryan McBride have developed into an outstanding partnership,” he maintained.

And with emerging talent in the Derry squad, such as Barry McNamee and Michael Rafter, there will always be the question of how difficult it will be to keep them at the club come the end of the current season.

Devine is certainly aware of the reputation Derry City have established for producing young players with potential.

Commenting specifically on midfield playmaker, Barry McNamee, Devine said: “I hope we can keep him. He’s a smashing player, but the nature of the club is that there’s always going to be players who will wish move on.

“There’s no doubt that McNamee is an outstanding talent and we have no doubt that other players at this club continue to attract attention.

“For me, Shane McEleney is also going to be very difficult to hold onto. He’s a 6’ 4” centre-back who has got pace and he’s got better and better in the air. In fact, there are a lot of players at the club who could, potentially, attract interest,” concluded Devine.