Candystripes 'happy enough but want to be better' says Jordan McEneff

The Derry City man picked up the first player of the month award for the season. 
Candystripes 'happy enough but want to be better' says Jordan McEneff

BEST FOOT FORWARD: Jordan McEneff of Derry City with his SSE Airtricity/SWI Player of the Month award for February 2023 at Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Better late than never.

This may well be the last day in March, but Jordan McEneff is still honoured and delighted to finally get his hands on his Soccer Writers Ireland and SSE Airtricity Player of the Month award for February.

“I’m buzzing,” insists the talented Derry City attacker, who won the award for his bright start to the season which saw him net two goals in his first two league games against St Patrick's Athletic and Cork City.

“To win the player of the month is not easy because of the quality there is in the league so to win it in the first month gives you a bit of confidence going into the rest of the season. We’re happy enough (with Derry’s start) but we want to be better.” 

Given that they are still undefeated after six games which sees them lie second in the league table and that they have the joint lowest goals conceded so far, the fact McEneff claims the FAI Cup winners want to do better is an ominous warning to their rivals.

Tonight, McEneff and co travel to Tolka Park (7:45pm kick-off) where they will meet the side they share that defensive record with and whom they beat heavily in last year’s FAI Cup final, Damien Duff’s Shelbourne.

It is a club, a venue, and a manager the 22-year-old knows well having joined them briefly on a loan deal from Arsenal back in February 2022.

But it wasn’t a productive spell for the playmaker as the two fractures he previously suffered in his lower back hindered his time in Dublin.

A swift return to North London followed in the summer and an even swifter return to the League of Ireland followed last August when he returned to Derry.

He has now rediscovered his best form with his hometown club and this Player of the Month award can attest to that. He may even have his eyes set on the March gong as well having recently bagged a brace away to UCD.

“I went to Shels, and I’d played 30 minutes in the 14 months before that,” he admitted.

“Obviously my performances personally weren’t as good as I’d hoped they would be, but it was a good experience and everyone at the club was fantastic to me down there, and I’m thankful to all of them.

“To be fair, Damien was fantastic. He kind of eased me into training and I was only playing 30 minutes at the start of the season because I wasn’t ready in that sense. I was only back playing.

“Then to come to Derry and come on in the cup final and score a goal was, I don’t know how to explain it, it was a relief, it was the best day of my career so far.

“We are expecting a tough and tight game (against Shelbourne). It will definitely be a battle and after the cup final last year, they will be even more up for it.”

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