Derry City: Patrick McEleney returns to boost Derry

Patrick McEleney
Patrick McEleney

PETER Hutton will renew an old acquaintance in Co. Offaly next Sunday afternoon when locking horns with a former Shelbourne team-mate at Paddy Moloney Park.

Dessie Baker, who led the line for Shelbourne when Hutton claimed his second Premier Division Championship medal, is a prominent member of this weekend’s FAI Cup second round opponents, Edenderry Town, from the Leinster Senior League.

And while the striker still commands a place in the Edenderry first team panel. it’s not known if he will be taking to the field against the “Candy Stripes” now at the tender age of 37!

However, from a Derry City perspective, this Sunday’s game will prove to be a welcome distraction from a league programme which has been inconsistent to say the least.

Last Friday night’s share of the spoils was warmly welcomed given the fact that the “Candy Stripes” lost the services of Mark Timlin due to a straight red card, but the relieved faces in the Derry dugout when Sligo squandered a penalty in the 80th minute told its own story.

However, the main positive was the return to active service of Derry City talisman, Patrick McEleney who, while lacking in fitness having been sidelined with a torn groin, basically turned Friday night’s game on its head.

Team boss, Peter Hutton, was predictably delighted to see the 22-year-old make a return to action.

“He got through the second half, but he would be the first to tell you that his fitness levels were a bit suspect,” laughed Hutton.

McEleney was back in training yesterday, as was Gerard Doherty, Hutton keen to see key players returning from injury.

“Patrick has had no reaction from the injury and I think everyone will have noticed the difference he made on the night.

“To be honest he wanted to be involved over the past two weeks, but our medical team ruled out that and now that it’s looking good for him, it’s time to focus on his fitness.”

Philip Lowry, who limped off the field with the use of crutches last Friday night, was released from Altnagelvin Hospital at 3.00 a.m. on Saturday, happy with the news that his Fibula was not fractured.

“Philip sustained extensive soft tissue damage but, thankfully, there was no fracture which had been a worry. He will receive intensive treatment this week and we’ll see how he is come the weekend,” added Hutton.

Edenderry lost out 6-2 in last weekend’s Gilligan Cup Final to Lucan United with former Premier Division players Mark Rutherford and Graham Gartland representing the winners.

“We had a representative at the game and the defeat did not come as a surprise given the experience of the Lucan team,” noted Hutton.

“They have some talented young players at their disposal with experienced personnel such as Dessie still involved. Apparently he came on at half-time in the final.

“Edenderry have good facilities, including a decent playing surface, so that’s a plus factor.

“Obviously, we will be considered overwhelming favourites for the game but we will not be getting carried away on that front.

“Our total focus is now on Sunday’s game and we will prepare for the Edenderry Town match the same way we would prepare for a match against any of the top Premier Division clubs,” claimed Hutton.