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'The Derry Pele' is coming home

Paddy McCourt is set to leave Finn Harps and become the head of the Candystripes’ youth academy in mid-September.

Paddy McCourt will return to Derry as head of the club's youth academy.
Paddy McCourt will return to Derry as head of the club's youth academy.

FORMER CELTIC STAR Paddy McCourt is set to return to Derry City, it has been confirmed, as part of plans to re-structure the support network for the club’s underage squads.

McCourt has agreed to become head of the club’s youth academy and will oversee the progress of the U13s, U15s, U17s and U19s, with a manager set to be appointed to each of the respective roles.

The 34-year-old, affectionately referred to by supporters as ‘The Derry Pele,’ will undertake the role in mid-September. He is currently on the books at Finn Harps, but he will leave the First Division club later this year, with his contract set to expire.

After starting his senior career with Rochdale and enjoying a short stint at Shamrock Rovers, McCourt spent three years with Derry between 2005 and 2008, before moving to Celtic.

He has represented a number of clubs since then, including Barnsley, Brighton, Luton and Glenavon.

“I’m really happy to be coming back to Derry City and in particular to have the opportunity to oversee this new development programme,” McCourt said in reaction to the news.

“The club has identified an area where they feel more work is needed to secure the future of the younger players as they come through the ranks and it is a challenge I am relishing.

“It looks like there will be plenty of work ahead so I have notified Finn Harps that I will be retiring when my current contract is up to concentrate fully on this role.”

“We are delighted to be bringing someone of Paddy McCourt’s stature into this role,” City spokesman Sean Barrett added. “He is a local guy who has graced football’s biggest stages and he will hopefully inspire our young boys and girls to reach for the heights that he has.”

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