Patrick McEleney celebrates his side's victory over Newtown in the Europa Conference League alongside head coach Vinny Perth. Pic: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Patrick McEleney will leave Dundalk FC at the end of the season and return to hometown club Derry City, where he’s signed a two-year pre-contract agreement.
With his contract at Oriel Park expiring at the end of the year, the 28-year-old had also been linked with Irish League side Glentoran, but has instead opted to return home.
Derry are understood to be exploring the possibility of fast-tracking McEleney’s arrival with immediate effect, should a fee be agreed between themselves and Dundalk.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Patrick again and we are delighted to be bringing one of the best players in the country back to his hometown club,” said Derry manager Ruaidhri Higgins.
The news of McEleney’s imminent departure broke shortly after Dundalk’s 4-0 win over Newtown AFC in the Europa Conference League qualifiers at Oriel on Thursday night.
An official club statement from Derry read: “City have made enquiries to the Louth club about releasing McEleney in the current transfer window however no agreement on that has been reached as yet.
“Derry are keen however to put an end to ongoing speculation about the player’s future.”
McEleney started his career at Derry before moving to Dundalk ahead of the 2016 season, which yielded unprecedented success for The Lilywhites, who won the SSE Airtricity League, as well as reach the UEFA Europa League group stages that year.
He was nominated for the PFAI Player of the Year award – losing out to Sean Maguire – the following season before earning a move to English League One side Oldham Athletic.
He returned to Dundalk shortly afterwards, scoring the decisive goal of the 2018 FAI Cup final against Cork City – a season in which he also picked up another league medal.
Another league success in 2019 was followed by FAI Cup and Europa League group stage glory in 2020, and to date, he has made over 100 league appearances for the club.
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