SHANE McEleney ended his nightmare at Inchicore by severing ties with St Patrick’s Athletic yesterday and wasted no time in declaring his intent to ‘come home’ to Derry City.
Now officially a free agent after a season of exile with the Saints where he fell out with manager, Liam Buckley, the 6ft 4’’ defender is determined to get his career back on track.
I’m just hungry to get back playing again. That’s it in a nutshell. I want to put myself back on the market and get back playing, wherever that may be. I’m going to get myself back fit during the off-season and get myself a club!Shane McEleney
The former N. Ireland U21 international came to an agreement with St Pat’s to cut short his two year contract which was to expire at the end of the month, claiming he wanted out early ‘for my own sanity’.
And now that he’s in the shop window, the 25 year-old is hoping Derry City are among the clubs interested in offering him a chance to resurrect his career.
“I’m a free agent and I’m willing to come home,” said McEleney, “I want to get myself back in there and hopefully they (Derry) take an interest.
“I would never ever rule it out,” he added. “If Derry came and made me an offer I would definitely consider going back.
“I’m a Derry fella and it’s my hometown club. It’s something I would never rule out and if they ever came knocking, I would never say no!” he declared.
“My parents and family and friends are here. So, at the end of the day, it would be a no-brainer for me.”
With European football all but secured for Derry next season, McEleney believes his experience with the club on the Continent during his five year spell at Brandywell, could prove valuable if given the chance to prove his worth on Foyleside once again.
He’s been hugely impressed with the Candystripes this season and manager, Kenny Shiels, who has transformed the club from being relegation fodder to qualifying for Europe. And he feels Shiels’ style of play, which encourages his team to play out from the back and express themselves, would suit him perfectly.
“I got up to watch many of the games throughout the season and I was very impressed with the way they’ve turned themselves around this year,” said the Shantallow man.
“The players have been excellent and the manager has made a serious impact. Derry will be in Europe next year and I enjoyed some great trips in Europe with the club to Trabzonspor and places like that.
“Anything I’ve won in my career I’ve won at Derry City. So the good memories out-weigh the bad ones.
“Kenny (Shiels) is obviously going to strengthen the squad with them being in Europe so hopefully that can be an option for me. I have the experience in the league. I’ve had four good seasons with Derry and played the majority of games last year with St Pat’s.
“Anything Derry’s won this past five years I’ve been a part of it. I know what it takes to win things.
“I’m 25 now and I can add a bit of experience and help some of the younger lads. I would love to get myself back in there, so hopefully they take an interest.”
“I’m just hungry to get back playing again. That’s it in a nutshell. I want to put myself back on the market and get back playing, wherever that may be. I’m going to get myself back fit during the off-season and get myself a club!”