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Kenny hails McEleney as 'poetry in motion' as he returns to former club

“Just a joy to watch. He’s worth the admission money. People should come and watch him and be thankful to see him.”

Dundalk playmaker Patrick McEleney has made an impressive start to the season.
Dundalk playmaker Patrick McEleney has made an impressive start to the season.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

DUNDALK MANAGER STEPHEN Kenny is well accustomed by now to starting a new season without key players from the previous campaign.

In 2015 they had to move on from the departure of Patrick Hoban, last year it was Richie Towell and for 2017 they’re coming to terms with the loss of Daryl Horgan.

On each occasion someone else has stepped up to the plate to fill the void, however, and this time appears to be no different. Enter Patrick McEleney.

Kenny earmarked McEleney as Dundalk’s offensive talisman before the start of the season. After three Premier Division games, it’s clear that the 24-year-old playmaker is thriving in his role as a focal point of the Lilywhites’ attacking options.

After turning in an impressive display in the win against Shamrock Rovers on the opening weekend, McEleney gave Dundalk the lead with a delightful free-kick in the 4-0 victory away to Sligo Rovers. On Friday night at Oriel Park he conjured up another moment of magic to score the only goal of the game — a left-footed strike from 30 yards — against Limerick.

Kenny: “It was just a brilliant goal from Patrick to win it. Just a joy to watch. He’s worth the admission money. People should come and watch him and be thankful to see him. It’s great to see a player like that. It’s poetry in motion really. It’s a thing of great beauty when he’s at his fullest, when he’s playing to his full potential.”

Having joined Dundalk last season from Derry City, McEleney returns to face his hometown club tonight in the pick of the ties in a full programme of SSE Airtricity League Premier Division fixtures.

Both sides have a 100% record so far in the league this season, although Derry City are in third, three points adrift of second-placed Dundalk, as their game against Limerick 10 days ago at their temporary Maginn Park home had to be abandoned due to floodlight failure.

Ryan McBride celebrates scoring a a goal Ryan McBride celebrates after scoring the winner for Derry City against Shamrock Rovers on Friday. Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

With two away wins on the board already, the hosts shouldn’t lack confidence against the champions in Buncrana. A 1-0 win against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght on Friday was preceded a fortnight earlier by a 4-1 triumph against Bohemians.

Elsewhere, it’s top versus bottom tonight as Cork City welcome Sligo Rovers to Turner’s Cross. On the back of Friday night’s 4-1 win away to Drogheda United, the Leesiders lead the standings on goal difference after scoring nine times and conceding just once. Sligo leaked nine in their opening two games — 1-5 and 0-4 losses respectively to Limerick and Dundalk — but Dave Robertson’s men got off the mark on Friday with a 1-1 draw at home to St Pat’s.

That game at the Showgrounds also brought Pat’s their first points of the season. The same can be said of tonight’s opponents Finn Harps, who drew 1-1 at home to Galway United on Friday. Galway were another side registering their first points of the season, which will give them a boost as they return to Eamon Deacy Park for the visit of a Shamrock Rovers side who have already lost twice in their three outings.

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Bray Wanderers started their campaign with back-to-back wins over St Pat’s and Finn Harps, but their progress was halted on Friday despite holding a 2-0 second-half lead away to Bohemians. The Gypsies came back to win 3-2 and avoid a third consecutive defeat. Bray host Drogheda United tonight, while Bohs go to Limerick.

Drogheda were denied a third win on the trot by Friday’s aforementioned 4-1 loss to Cork City. In spite of their 1-0 defeat to Dundalk, Limerick will be buoyed by an encouraging performance against the title holders at Oriel Park.

Sean Maguire scores the first goal Cork City's Sean Maguire scored for the fifth game in a row in Friday's defeat of Drogheda United. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

– Additional reporting by Caoimhin Reilly

Predictions

Every week, we’re giving readers the chance to take us on in predicting the Premier Division results. After Week 3, here’s the standings:

The42: 10
The Readers: 9

Next up is Tom Clancy from Limerick…

The Reader (Tom Clancy) 

  • Galway United v Shamrock Rovers – Shamrock Rovers win
  • Bray Wanderers v Drogheda United – Bray Wanderers win
  • Cork City v Sligo Rovers – Cork City win
  • Derry City v Dundalk – Dundalk win
  • Limerick v Bohemians – Limerick win
  • St Patrick’s Athletic v Finn Harps – Draw

The42 (Paul Dollery) 

  • Galway United v Shamrock Rovers – Shamrock Rovers win
  • Bray Wanderers v Drogheda United – Bray Wanderers win
  • Cork City v Sligo Rovers – Cork City win
  • Derry City v Dundalk – Draw
  • Limerick v Bohemians – Limerick win
  • St Patrick’s Athletic v Finn Harps – Draw

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About the author:

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