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Dublin: 11°C Thursday 15 April 2021

MLS club joins the race to sign coveted Dundalk star McEleney

The talented Derry native has plenty of options after spending two seasons at Oriel Park.

McEleney in possession for Dundalk in the FAI Cup final.
McEleney in possession for Dundalk in the FAI Cup final.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

PATRICK McELENEY COULD be playing in Major League Soccer in 2018 after he revealed interest from an unnamed club in the top tier of football in the USA.

McEleney, who has come to the end of a two-year contract with Dundalk, is also reportedly weighing up offers from several clubs in the UK, including Blackburn Rovers and Oldham Athletic.

However, the 25-year-old playmaker has told the Derry Journal that he’s still “a couple of weeks away” from making a decision on his future. Dundalk are keen to keep McEleney at Oriel Park, while the possibility of returning to Derry City is also on the table.

“There are big clubs involved and I’ve met a few now,” he told Simon Collins. “The MLS is really appealing but everything has to be right. It’s not just about me, it’s about everyone.

“It’s dragging on a bit now but I expected that anyway. There has been interest from here and other places like America, England and Scotland. But I’m just going to take my time and try and make the right decision.”

McEleney — who has represented both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland at underage level — enjoyed a stellar 2017 for a Dundalk side who finished second in the Premier Division, reached the FAI Cup final and won the EA Sports Cup. He scored 11 times in all competitions, including several goal-of-the-season contenders.

After moving to Oriel Park from Derry City, McEleney won a Premier Division medal in 2016. He has also been named in the PFAI Team of the Year in each of his two seasons with the Lilywhites, as well as being a Player of the Year nominee in 2017.

McEleney, whose older brother Shane currently plays for Ottawa Fury in the United Soccer League, added: “I wouldn’t say anyone is leading the race or anyone is coming last, it’s just a case of weighing everything up and there’s still a lot of thinking to be done.

“It’s always nice to have interest from everywhere because, to be honest, I’m undecided on where I’m going to go.”

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Paul Dollery

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