Patrick McEleney described as Vitesse Arnhem's 'tormentor' as Derry man draws plaudits from Stephen Kenny and Ruaidhri Higgins

PATRICK McELENEY was described as Vitesse Arnhem's 'tormentor' after his first leg heroics for Dundalk in the UEFA Europa Conference League third qualifying round clash at the Gelredome in the Netherlands.

By Simon Collins
Saturday, 7th August 2021, 9:57 am
Local Arnhem newspaper 'de Gelderlander' report on Dundalk's Europa Conference League draw with Vitesse.
Local Arnhem newspaper 'de Gelderlander' report on Dundalk's Europa Conference League draw with Vitesse.

While local newspapers criticised the Dutch Eredivisie side for not finishing the game during a period of dominance in the first half, the country's national press officer was suitably impressed by Derry man McEleney's stunning contribution on the night, describing the Derry City-bound playmaker as Vitesse' tormentor in chief and the dangerman ahead of the second leg tie.

The local newspaper 'de Gelderlander' in Arnhem went with the headline 'Vitesse maakt trip naar Ierland onnodig spannend' ('Vitesse makes the trip to Ireland unnecessarily thrilling') as critics of the Dutch outfit gave little credit to the League of Ireland side for their 2-2 draw.

In fact local reporters and commentators suggested Dundalk held 'an advantage' over Vitesse as they are currently midway through their domestic league campaign with a section of the media asking for a greater debate on how to avoid a 'cold start' from the Dutch clubs in the preliminary rounds of European competition.

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McEleney's second goal was truly remarkable as he sold the Vitesse defender and goalkeeper a dummy before nonchalantly lifting the ball over their heads and into the net to finish off a world class individual effort.

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny, who coached McEleney at Derry City and Dundalk, said he wasn't surprised by the quality of the goals from the Shantallow man, claiming he's been a 'brilliant talent' in the League of Ireland for the past 10 years.

"Dundalk will be so disappointed to concede that last minute equaliser because it would've been a famous victory away to Vitesse Arnhem but it's a good result nonetheless," said Kenny. "Unfortunately the away goals don't count anymore but Patrick McEleney (scored) two great goals. Vinny's done terrific since he's come back in and it's in the balance for next week.

"I obviously gave Patrick his debut when he was 17 at Derry and he's been a really, really brilliant talent in the league for a decade now and he's a joy to coach and manage. I've seen so many goals over the years with that kind of quality and he's been a great player for Dundalk over the last five years and for Derry City before that so he deserves everything he gets because he's been unlucky with injuries at critical times in his career and he's a great talent."

Patrick McEleney has been described as 'Vitesse' tormentor' after his stunning brace in the Netherlands.

Meanwhile Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins, who signed McEleney on a pre contract agreement for next season described his goal as 'majestic' and insisted he wasn't surprised by the quality shown by the Derry man on the night.

"I wasn't surprised. It was majestic but I think he'll be even happier with the header because he doesn't score too many of those but he scores quite a few of the other ones right enough."