Another Derry native who has made Dundalk his home, Patrick McEleney spent his early years with Foyle Harps before joining Sunderland shortly before his 16th birthday. He signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the Wearside club but returned home just 12 months later due to homesickness.
After their relegation to the League of Ireland first division, McEleney signed for Derry City in December 2009 where he played under Stephen Kenny. His performances for the Candystripes earned him a call-up at underage level for the Republic of Ireland.
McEleney went on to play 181 games for Derry across a five-year stay, during which time he was recognised as one of the league’s most promising players, but he left the Brandywell to reunite with Stephen Kenny at Dundalk in 2016.
‘Fats’ played a crucial role in Dundalk’s Europa League campaign in 2016, playing in all 12 games of the club’s European odyssey, and after picking up a league winners medal, he followed that up with another impressive season in 2017 which earned him a move to Oldham Athletic.
Six difficult months at Boundary Park followed and McEleney returned to Dundalk in the summer of 2018 and was a crucial part of the team that went on to win the double, scoring the winner in the FAI Cup final against Cork City at the Aviva Stadium.
After suffering a bad injury on the opening day of the 2019 season, McEleney returned to fitness to help Dundalk to another league title and he was also heavily influential in the 2020 run to the UEFA Europa League group stages and the FAI Cup win over Shamrock Rovers.