Griffin’s move to Derry on the rocks

Gavin McLaughlin

Reporter:

Gavin McLaughlin

FORMER Dundalk striker Marc Griffin’s protracted move to Derry City looked to have been finally completed on Friday only for the deal to hit a snag just 24 hours later.

FORMER Dundalk striker Marc Griffin’s protracted move to Derry City looked to have been finally completed on Friday only for the deal to hit a snag just 24 hours later.

The 21-year-old had a medical at the Brandywell club on Friday after Dundalk and Derry City finally settled on a compensation fee but as of yesterday (Monday) the deal was still to be completed because of a difference of opinion between both sides over the terms of the deal.

Sources on Foyleside say that Derry City are believed to have been willing to pay extra compensation to Dundalk if Griffin played 30 games for the Candystripes next season but Dundalk want that reduced to 15.

Limerick FC and Sligo Rovers have also entered into negotiations to sign Griffin while English non league side AFC Wimbledown have also made tentative enquiries about securing his signature.

“We had some footage sent across to have a look at”, said Dons manager Neal Ardley last week. “We tried to speak to the FAI to see what his situation was, but so far we haven’t heard anything back. He’s not someone we’ve spoken to our board about, so any move is still a long way down the line.”

Griffin, who has been training with Derry City for the past number of weeks, has his heart set on teaming up with former Dundalk striker Michael Rafter at the Brandywell but the decision may be taken out of his hands if the clubs cannot thrash out a deal.

What is certain is that Griffin’s five-year association with the Lilywhites is over with the striker making it clear to Dundalk FC Chairman Ciaran Bond that he has no intention of staying at Oriel Park next season.

Bond nurtured Griffin as a teenager with Muirhevnamor and then Dundalk Youths and although he is disappointed that the player wants to go, he said Griffin had left it in doubt that he wanted to try his luck elsewhere.

“From my own perspective it will be sad to see him go and I wish him all the very best of luck in the future.

“It’s no secret that Marc wants to leave, not just Dundalk FC but the town itself”, he added. “He has ultimate aims of going across the water and he feels personally that he needs to move away from town if he wants to achieve that.

“He has been a good servant for us and we will not stand in his way but we are entitled to compensation.”

After arriving as a schoolboy from Muirhevnamor, Griffin quickly progressed through the youth ranks and Sean Connor handed him his first team debut in an FAI Cup tie against Mervue United at Terryland Park in June 2009.

His impressive displays at underage level earned him a professional deal with Dundalk in December 2010 and his breakthrough came in the 2011 season when, under Ian Foster, he became a regular in the starting XI, hitting eight goals in 21 games.

He failed to hit those heights last year, scoring just five times in the league as Dundalk narrowly avoided relegation, but his goal in the 3-2 defeat against Drogheda United at Hunky Dorys Park in September was one of the highlights of a dismal campaign for the club.

gavin@dundalkdemocrat.ie