Higgins hailed the 25 year-old’s arrival on Foyleside as a ‘big signing for the club’ and believes Dummigan, who won the league title, FAI Cup and League Cup during a three year spell at Dundalk, has gone ‘under the radar’ in Irish football.
His versatility was a key attribute for Higgins who admits to being uncertain about the Lurgan native’s best position but he believes his signing was as good as bringing three players to the club!
“Cameron Dummigan is an exceptional footballer,” said the Derry boss. “He’s 25 years of age with loads of experience for someone so young and his best years are ahead of him.
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“Honestly, I don’t think I’ve come across a player who I couldn’t tell you what his best position is because he’s so, so comfortable in a number of positions.
“To me it’s like signing three players with his versatility and we were delighted to bring him to the club.”
Dummigan comes with a wealth of experience having represented Dundalk in the Europa League Group stages and on big European nights last year. Higgins reckons the defender is a man for the big occasions as he proved on several occasions during the 2021 campaign.
“For me he was probably Dundalk’s stand out player last season in the European games, very, very good. And the Shamrock Rovers game - the tougher games I felt he really came to the fore for Dundalk.”
Comparing his versatility to FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League winner, Lahm, who was widely acknowledged as being one of the most reliable and indispensable players for Bayern Munich and Germany during his trophy-laden career, Higgins reckons Dummigan’s ability to play in multiple positions will prove a major asset for Derry City.
He played predominantly at right back or right wing-back at Dundalk but was also deployed in midfield, on the right wing and at centre half last season.
With Ronan Boyce making the right wing-back role his own last season with performances which earned him a place in the PFAI ‘Team of the Year’, will Dummigan’s arrival bring about a rivalry for that particular position?
“Listen, Cameron will be in direct competition with three or four players because of the roles he can play in,” answered Higgins, “He’s an outstanding footballer and, as I said, I can’t stand here and tell you what I think his best position is because he’s equally as good in a number of positions. He’s probably the Philipp Lahm of the League of Ireland.
“He’s an outstanding player and I think there’s more to come. I actually think he’s gone under the radar to be honest. When you talk about top players around the league his name doesn’t really come up that often but if you speak to players and coaches within the league he’s regarded extremely highly. The supporters at Derry will see that in the coming years, just how good he is.
“He’s an outstanding footballer, he’s good with both feet, a good athlete, can pass it, can defend one v. one, he’s just a really, really good footballer. I don’t want to put an awful lot of pressure on him but I think he’s a big signing for the club.”
So where does Dummigan believe is his best position on the pitch?
“I don’t know my best position to be honest with you,” smiled the former Cliftonville and Crusaders man.
“I’ve played basically every position this season at Dundalk. I was right back, centre back, centre midfield, right midfield but to be honest I don’t really care where I play. Wherever Ruaidhri puts me I’ll do a job there no matter what,” promised Dummigan who made 73 appearances for Dundalk.
It appears a no risk signing for Higgins who knows the player well from his time as assistant boss at Oriel Park while he should be able to bed into his new surroundings quickly given he reunites with ex-teammates Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy and Will Patching at Brandywell.
Higgins predicts he will ‘fit right into the culture of the dressing room’ and Dummigan is delighted to be linking up with McEleney in particular again having played together while at Oldham Athletic in 2018 before joining Dundalk together in 2019.
“When ‘Fats’ moved over to Oldham, he only lived five minutes down the road from me so I brought him into training etc. I had a little one back home which was the reason I came back and he talked me into going to Dundalk.
“Saying that, basically wherever he goes it looks like I’m following him,” he laughed.
It’s not a bad career move following the Shantallow man around given his list of honours and Dummigan is confident they can share further successes and silverware at Derry.
“He’s a great player and a great man. I’ve nothing but respect for him.”
The excitement and expectation levels on Foyleside are growing ahead of the new campaign and while Dummigan is careful not to prematurely talk about challenging for the title, he is confident Higgins will instil a winning mentality in the group.
“I just want to go onto the pitch and do the best I can, that’s all I can do. I’ve been there and done it but it’s a mentality and it’s a mentality I’m sure Ruaidhri will drill into the players,” he concluded.