Shamrock Rovers manager and former Derry City boss Stephen Kenny has described Eddie McCallion’s 15 years with the Brandywell club as “incredible”.
Kenny’s Hoops beat Derry 1-0 at the Brandywell on Friday evening and whilst the 40 year-old Dubliner was delighted to have recorded a valuable away win he found time to praise his former full-back.
Irish Premier League side Glenavon have offered 33 year-old McCallion a two year deal and with the prospect of more first team football it is likely that Friday’s performance against Rovers was McCallion’s last in the famous red and white jersey.
“Eddie is a great professional and a great example to other players,” said Kenny.
“His service to Derry City is incredible.
“When Pat Fenlon was manager he brought in Dave Rogers and Greg O’Halloran who could both play at right-back. I brought in Ger O’Brien for a season but still Eddie never gave up.
“Eddie hated being left out of the team and if you left him out of the team he wouldn’t talk to you for a week.
“It’s exactly that type of determination that always impressed me about Eddie and I suppose that by caring so much it gave his career longevity.
“He has had a terrific career and it’s a credit to him that he has had such longevity - not many players have that.”
Kenny continued: “Eddie was a great example to players in terms of how to prepare for games. Even though we all ate well he would bring his own food with him.
“If someone else in the team had lower body fat than him he would ask Colm O’Neill [physio] to retake it. He would have been livid and the other players would have wound him up.
“He captained Derry against P.S.G. at the Brandywell and he has won plenty in his career.
“He was a different kind of personality and I think it’s great to see a 33 year-old like Eddie get a two year deal with Glenavon. He deserves it and I wish him all the very best.
Kenny left Derry to join Shamrock Rovers in December last year. He was replaced by his long term assistant Declan Devine.
When asked for his thoughts on Derry’s season so far Kenny insisted that both new manager Devine and assistant manager Paul Hegarty still needed time.
“I think Derry are in unique circumstances. They have lost several first team players - it’s essentially the backbone of their team.
“There are great people working here who love this club like Declan Devine and Paul Hegarty. Declan and Paul are great football people and they need time to implement their own football ideas.”
Shamrock Rovers were dumped out of the Champions League when they were beaten 2-1 by Lithuanian side F.K. Ekranas during the week.
Coupled with his side’s recent league form and the European exit, many Rovers supporters have been calling for Kenny’s resignation but the Tallaght native said that whilst he was relieved to have come away with a win against Derry, everyone at the club, including himself, must continue to improve.
“We still have to play Sligo Rovers - there’s still a lot of football to be played.
“At the minute we are just concentrating on our next game which is against U.C.D. We have to go the Belfield Bowl and try and win next Friday.
“One win in isolation is not enough - we need to back it up.
“We all, and I include myself, have to improve,” he said.