DFC | McEleney’s performances being monitored by managers North and South
Martin and Michael O’Neill both keeping tabs on Dundalk FC star
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has revealed that Patrick McEleney’s performances are being monitored by international bosses, north and south of the border.
Both Martin O’Neill, and his Northern Ireland counterpart, Michael O’Neill, have been keeping tabs on the 24-year-old’s progress with the League of Ireland champions.
McEleney has been capped at U16, U17, U18 and U19 level for the Republic but along with his brother Shane, he declared for Northern Ireland in 2012 after speaking with Michael O’Neill and former Celtic winger, Paddy McCourt.
Despite that, he has never been called up by the North which leaves him eligible for both and speaking after watching McEleney score Dundalk’s second in the 2–0 win over Galway United on Monday night, Kenny said that the Derryman is on the radar of both O’Neill’s.
“I haven’t really spoken to both of them at length but I know he has been watched by both at various times.
“I would never offer an opinion to a player on that (north or south), that’s a very personal choice,” he added.
“Let’s see how he goes. He needs to show a level of consistency with his performances and then anything is possible for him.”
Asked if he felt that McEleney had the ability to make the progress to full international level, Kenny said: “I hope so. I believe in him and I’ve always believed in him.
“His form earlier in the season was really brilliant, then he had the groin injury and lost his way for a little while. His form dipped somewhat but that wasn’t just him.
“Maybe we were over reliant on him because we have sort of built things around him with the way we’re set up.
“To be fair to him, he’s a great person and he’s too modest at times. He can score goals that others can’t, it’s as simple as that — he’s a unique player.
“The goal he scored tonight wasn’t typical of the goals he usually scores but I welcome it. He needs to get into the box more and score more goals like that.”
Dundalk’s upcoming Champions League games with Rosenborg will thrust McEleney into the limelight.
Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle both secured moves to Preston -and subsequently become Irish internationals — following their performances for Dundalk in Europe last year.
And Kenny knows that McEleney will be measured on his performances against some of the continent’s biggest sides.
“Whatever about Daryl, there’s no way Andy would be in the international squad or even at Preston but for Europe last year.
“They were the games they stood out in and managers could measure them.”