Daniel Kelly excited to be a part of Ruaidhri Higgins' ambitious plans at Derry City
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The 27 year-old winger, who signed a two-year contract with the Brandywell club, joins Higgins' revolution after five successful years at Dundalk where he won the league title in 2019, the FAI Cup in 2020 and played in the Group stages of the Europa League the same year.
He's blessed with electric pace and can play across the forward line and his arrival represents a real statement of intent from Higgins who believes Kelly can help the club in their quest for league glory next year.
Of course the Ringsend native was coached by Higgins in 2019 and already knows the likes of Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy, Will Patching, Cameron Dummigan and Mark Connolly from his time at Dundalk.
So he believes the transition into the Derry dressing room will be a seamless one.
"The group is a great group," said Kelly, who was unveiled as a City player this morning. "I know that by chatting with all the lads I used to play with.
"Getting out of your comfort zone is important at certain stages. I had a good five years at Dundalk and really enjoyed my time but I think it's time for a new challenge now and I'm looking forward to it.
"They (former teammates) have persuaded me. I'd be close to 'Cammy' [Dummigan] too and once I gave them a little text they were buzzing before I even said I was going anywhere. They said you need to get yourself up here.
"Chatting to the manager as well, the changing room is going to be a real easy changeover for me. I'll be coming up here so slightly out of my comfort zone and into a new changing room but I've nothing to fear going into a new changing room and it's an easier walk in once you know most of the lads as well and knowing the gaffer as well is nice."
He got a taste of what the club was all about when watching Derry fans flock in their thousands to the Aviva Stadium for the 2022 FAI Cup Final and for the Europa Conference League third round qualifier against Tobol at Tallaght this summer.
And the former Bohemians and Bray Wanderers man is desperate to be involved in nights like that with the Candy Stripes, claiming it was a 'no-brainer' to accept an offer from Higgins.
"Please God we can go on a similar run," he said. "I actually watched their games in Europe this year and they were very unlucky to be fair.
"A couple of the away games they were very, very good. They were unfortunate in Tallaght as well. The atmosphere that night was unbelievable.
"I remember walking out at the start and the place was hopping. I want to be a part of that.
"I was chatting to my da going to the Cup Final and was saying to him hopefully next year this place is rammed with Derry lads and I'll be in the final, please God.
"He is building something special here, the manager, and I just want to be a part of it. I've obviously been chatting to the manager and I've worked with him before so I know what he's all about and know what type of manager he is.
"I'm obviously a Dublin lad so I did have a couple of options in Dublin but I wanted to go to a place where I could potentially win the league and this was a no brainer in the end."
The Dubliner scored nine goals in 33 games from wide positions for Dundalk last season and Kelly believes he can increase those numbers next year given the quality and creativity in the Derry squad.
"I hope I'll help the club win the league," he said. "The club is getting closer obviously.
"As I said, the manager is building something here. It does take time for these things and they haven't had the luck with injuries but next year we'll aim to start the season well and go from there. "But it's a group well capable of going on to win the league and we have players in the team who have won leagues before so it's not going to be a new thing. I just can't wait to get going really."
The prospect of Michael Duffy, Paul McMullan and Kelly adding assists and goals from the flanks is something which will no doubt excite Derry fans.
"Listen, I want to be getting into double figures. It's obviously a nice big pitch too which suits me. So that's my aim this year - to get into double figures.
"I finished with nine this year and obviously missed the first half of the season. I was in and out with an injury. I've had a good run of it now and just can't wait to get going next year.”