Dundalk FC's Patrick McEleney. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Patrick McEleney reckons Dundalk FC are onto something “special” ahead of Sunday’s FAI Cup final against Cork City.
The 26-year-old, who returned from Oldham Athletic in July, ended his first spell with the Lilywhites on a losing note at Ballsbridge last November.
However, with compatriot Michael Duffy among the club’s re-signed stars for next season, McEleney feels victory could begin another period of Dundalk dominance.
“It’s going to be the start of something special, I believe, and we all believe it,” McEleney told The Democrat.
“We’re trying to set records and do the right things. I think we’re edging closer to the 2016 team; I think we’re getting closer to the European team.
“Everybody staying together is going to be huge and I think you can see that all year, the boys have been the best by a mile and I think next year we’ll be even stronger and focusing on Europe a lot more.”
The Derry man has been a member of the decider defeats of 2016 and ‘17 to Cork, and is seeking to avoid a third final reverse having come up short with his hometown club against St. Patrick’s Athletic in 2014.
Indeed, injury curtailed his preparation for last year’s encounter, while he hurt his hip flexor in the Candystripes’ final flop.
But, entering Sunday injury free, he is looking for a successful outcome.
“I just came back for the final last year. I was out for a few weeks before it and I did my hip flexor in the Derry one, so my luck hasn’t been great,” he quipped.
“And (last year) I was beaten on penalties, I was beaten with the last kick of extra-time; they’re fine margins, it was never as if I got whacked in any of the finals.
“Last year, we lost on a lottery. I think we were the better team; going one up in extra-time and I thought it was dead and buried, but they got a scrappy goal.
“We’re not going to dwell on it, though. We’ve a final and I think this team is a different animal.”
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