Patrick McEleney has 'unfinished business' at Derry City

PATRICK McELENEY claims he has ‘unfinished business’ with his boyhood club Derry City and is returning to Foyleside with the intention of winning trophies.

By Simon Collins
Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 7:27 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 7:28 am
Patrick McEleney says he has unfinished business at Derry City and can't wait to link up with Ruaidhri Higgins.
Patrick McEleney says he has unfinished business at Derry City and can't wait to link up with Ruaidhri Higgins.

The 28 year-old Shantallow man has won it all domestically during six successful seasons with Dundalk but has decided the time is right to return to Brandywell.

McEleney, who signed a pre-contract with the Candy Stripes last month, insists the opportunity to work under Ruaidhri Higgins was one of the key factors in his decision.

Higgins and the club’s Chairman Mr Philip O’Doherty have both stated their intentions of challenging for the league title in the next few seasons and McEleney, who will be an integral part of that challenge, claims he has bought into the Derry manager’s ambitious vision.

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Indeed, the talented playmaker, who returns to Brandywell next Sunday with Dundalk for a hotly anticipated league clash, says he’s ‘excited’ about starting a new chapter with Derry City and insists he’s not returning just to be ‘comfortable.’

“I’m excited to work with Ruaidhri again,” said McEleney who was instrumental in Dundalk's goal against St Patrick's Athletic on Sunday. “There’s no point in lying and saying Ruaidhri wasn’t one of the main reasons I’ve signed for Derry. We have the same beliefs.

“He sat me down and went through his plans and it’s obviously very exciting. I also spoke to Philip (O’Doherty) and Sean Barrett and I’m just really excited about it.”

Higgins played with McEleney for three years at Derry and was a significant influence on his career at Dundalk where he was part of Stephen Kenny’s coaching staff before progressing to become assistant manager. And McEleney can’t wait to link up with the Limavady man once again.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Ruaidhri. He was a kind of mentor on the pitch whenever I started playing (at Derry). Coming to Dundalk and being my assistant manager down here. He’s an amazing person firstly but in a football sense he’s second to none.

“There definitely is a sense of having unfinished business at Derry,” he added. “Myself and Ruaidhri sat down with our targets and what we believe and want to achieve. I’m coming to Derry to win things, I’m not just going there to consolidate and be comfortable.

“That’s just not in me. I’m going there to try and win things and try and move the club forward and help the young lads. I think I can do that. This past couple of years at Dundalk will stand to me in that sense and I’m just really looking forward to getting going.”

When asked if he was disappointed a deal couldn’t be agreed to bring him to Derry in the summer transfer window, McEleney said the situation was out of his control.

“That was between the clubs. I was aware that the two clubs were speaking about it but it was out of my hands and it was just important for me to concentrate on my football.

“I’m contracted to Dundalk and knew we had European games coming up so I left it to the two clubs to negotiate. There was nothing I could do to make a move happen,” he explained.