WATCH: Jordan McEneff emulates his older brother Aaron with FAI Cup Final heroics
JORDAN McEneff was making his way out of the Aviva Stadium onto the team bus on Sunday when someone addressed him as 'Aaron McEneff's brother'.
'That's Aaron McEneff's brother' explained the father of a young Derry City fan who was anxiously waiting outside the players' mix zone hoping for a photograph with one of his FAI Cup winning heroes.But Jordan's first senior goal on the biggest stage in Irish football saw him emerge from under the shadow of his older sibling who won every domestic honour during his decorated career in the League of Ireland with Derry and Shamrock Rovers.
The talented former Arsenal youth couldn't have dreamt of a better way to announce himself to the Derry fans after a season of frustrations which, as fate would have it, began with defeated cup finalists Shelbourne.
And how the football gods conspired on the day as Jordan came off the bench to score the fourth and final goal from the penalty spot in front of the North Stand accommodating the large Derry support - the same end his brother scored an 89th spotkick against Dundalk before lifting the FAI Cup three years previous.
Checking his phone when arriving back into the home dressing room after the on-pitch celebrations, Jordan received a message on Snapchat from his brother who stayed up to watch the match despite the eight hour time difference in western Australia where he's currently plying his trade with Perth Glory.
"Aaron has done it all," smiled Jordan. "He's won the cup and won a cup (League Cup) with Derry so it's not a bad thing to be called," he laughed. "I'm just buzzing to be honest. He was up watching the game because he sent me a video on Snapchat but there were so many messages from everyone."
Jordan was regarded as one of the top prospects in the Emirates Academy at London Colney under Freddie Ljungberg but injuries ultimately stunted his progression and his six month loan spell with Shels signalled the end of his six year association with the Gunners.
Jordan insists his emotional celebration as he ran towards the sideline was borne out of 'relief' rather than a dig at Shels boss Damien Duff claimed he was prepared to let him leave Tolka Park because 'he didn't do much' when asked if the Cornshell man had slipped through the net.
"I always call a spade a spade and be blunt," began Duff. "He didn't slip through my net, he played many times and got many minutes with us. He didn't do much and that's why I let him go but hey, football is a funny old game and when I saw him stepping up for the penalty, I'm like (shrugs his shoulders) 'what's the chances' but I wish him all the best. He's a great boy.
"You always felt that off him that he wanted to go home to his family so maybe that's the best place for him."
There's no hard feelings on Jordan's behalf. "I got on really well with Damien to be fair and he took me on loan," said the 21 year-old forward. "I probably wasn't anywhere near fully fit when I went in there and he gave me 100 per cent care and was fantastic with me. It just didn't work out for whatever reason it was."
Ruaidhri Higgins, offered him the chance of first team football with his hometown club and Higgins reckons there's no ceiling to where he can go in the game.
"I coached Jordan when he was 15 or 16 and there's no ceiling on what he's got to offer. We wanted Jordan to come in and stay fit and train as much as he could because he's had a real problem these last number of years staying fit. He's come in and hardly missed a session. You can see week on week how he's developing and improving and I'm so excited about Jordan for the future. He has a massive future in the game if he gets a wee bit of luck that he badly needs and hasn't got."
Sunday's victory was a special way to end a stop-start season for McEneff who reserved special praise for City skipper Patrick McEleney who handed him the match ball when he went down for the penalty in stoppage time.
"I have to give a big shout out to Fats. He was on penalties and I said to him, 'please can I hit it' and he let me so big thanks to him otherwise I wouldn't have got a goal."
As for the future, Jordan is out of contract but he's prepared to bide his time as he waits for talks with Derry.
"We'll wait and see. I always had a good relationship with Ruaidhri. I've known him for years. He coached me when I was at Coleraine when I was 15 or 16 so I've known him since then. We’ll sit down and talk now the season's over and we'll see what happens."