Monday 23 October 2017

Lilywhites move gives McDermott new lease of life

Donal McDermott has swapped Bournemouth for Dundalk
Donal McDermott has swapped Bournemouth for Dundalk

DUNDALK bolstered their squad at the weekend with the addition of former Irish underage international Donal McDermott.

The Ashbourne man joins the Lilywhites as a free agent, having parted ways with Championship outfit Bournemouth at the end of last season.

Able to play on either flank or in the hole behind a striker, the 24-year-old was one of the brightest Irish prospects around when he left Cherry Orchard to join Manchester City in 2008.

He won an FA Youth Cup medal during his first season in England, playing in the 3-1 victory over Chelsea in the final, but unfortunately his career never really progressed from there.

Despite loan moves to MK Dons, Chesterfield, Scunthorpe United and Bournemouth, he failed to make the breakthrough at City and left Eastlands in 2011 to join Huddersfield Town, where he made 14 appearances and scored once.

He then joined Bournemouth for a second spell in January 2012 but had his contract terminated a year early by mutual consent after he admitted to falling out of love with the game.

He returned home unsure whether he would ever play again, but when Stephen Kenny approached his agent asking whether or not he would like to train with Dundalk, McDermott admitted to jumping at the opportunity.

'I came back from Bournemouth about eight weeks ago and my agent got in touch with me after being in touch with the gaffer here and he asked me if I wanted to come down and train, so I said yeah.

'I was eight weeks without doing anything, so I needed a bit of fitness anyway. I came down and played in a couple of friendly games, and after that it just seemed to suit both of us because I was enjoying it again.

'I had another year over in England, but the way it was going I just said I needed to take a bit of a break from football. I wasn't sure if I was going to come back into it at all, but now that I have I'd like to show that I do have something to offer.

'As well as enjoying it, I want to try and do well. The team is flying and any way I can help the team I'll try and do that,' he said.

McDermott has been training at Dundalk for a number of weeks and admits to being impressed by the performance and attitude of his new teammates. Indeed, he said he'd be happy to play anywhere just to get his place in the team.

'The lads all seemed sound and obviously they're flying as well. I've seen the way they've played, having gone to watch a few of their games, and the way they play is really good. They try and play the right way and obviously that was a big factor in me wanting to come here.

'I'll play anywhere if there's a space. I started off as a left winger, but when I moved to England I got converted to a right winger. Then people started to play me in the hole, so it's one of those situations where I'm happy to play anywhere once I get my place on the team.'

McDermott - who is a friend of former Lilywhite Christy Doran - is ineligible for Thursday night's Europa League clash against AS Jeunesse Esch at Oriel Park but could come into contention for the trip to face Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

While his match fitness is not 100%, McDermott insists he is ready for action when called upon.

'My match fitness could always be better, but I'm getting there and I'm feeling better with every session. I've played one or two games already and there might be another coming up before the next league game, so that will help as well,' he said.

The Argus