TALENTED Derry City teenager, Conor McDermott received a glowing appraisal from Dundalk’s star man, Daryl Horgan who has likened the youngster to Ireland and Everton defender, Seamus Coleman.
McDermott who has been named in the N. Ireland Under-21 squad who face France at Windsor Park next Tuesday, has been one of the stand-out performers for Derry this season despite his tender years and remarkably playing out of position.
The Culmore man, who is primarily a midfielder, has played in central midfield, right back, centre half and on the right side of a three man defence over the course of his first campaign at senior level.
And Horgan was so impressed with McDermott during Derry City’s recent matches at both Oriel Park and Brandywell, he compared him to a young Coleman when the Killybegs man first started out in the League of Ireland with Sligo Rovers.
The Lilywhites winger, who has been tipped for an international call-up on the back of his sensational club form this season, said he finds it hard to believe McDermott is in his first season in senior football and reckons the Derry man is a ‘real prospect’.
Indeed, Horgan claimed McDermott was the name on the lips of the entire Dundalk squad in the dressing room after the FAI Cup semi-final replay on Tuesday night, such was the impression he made on the night.
Described as a ‘Rolls Royce’ by Derry boss, Kenny Shiels, Horgan was equally impressed by the player’s engine and his seemingly fearless attitude.
“He’s a very good player,” beamed Horgan. “He reminds me of Seamus Coleman when he was here in the league. He’s a very similar player. He’s definitely a real prospect. He was very good again tonight (Tuesday) and I was very impressed with him in the last couple of games as well.
“For a lad who has just begun playing senior football for two or three months, and in a new position for him as well, is unbelievable.
“But, as always there’s a lot of good young players in Derry . He’ll be a very, very good player there’s no doubt about that!”
He reminds me of Seamus Coleman when he was here in the league. He’s a very similar player. He’s definitely a real prospect.Daryl Horgan
And McDermott was obviously delighted to receive praise from the league’s in-form player.
“It’s good to hear that,” said the Derry youngster. “I found the league game tough down there but I had a lot more confidence and I knew how to play against him. That’s probably the reason why he made those comments. I think in the first game I was a bit too respectful of him and gave him a bit too much time on the ball. I said to myself, ‘I can’t be doing that in the next game’.
It has to be said Horgan had the better of the youngster in Dundalk’s recent 3-1 league win at Oriel Park but McDermott certainly didn’t let that effect him as he proved more than a match for the diminutive dangerman in the following two FAI Cup meetings.
McDermott’s confidence has shown through in his breakthrough season. And it was his confidence which caught the eye of Kenny Shiels in pre-season as he knocked on the manager’s door to make sure he wasn’t to be omitted from the official Derry City first team photograph.
“I didn’t know if I was going to be in the team photo or not so thought I might as well ask him and see where I stand. Thankfully he told me to go on ahead. I then made my debut and then my first start against Sligo in the cup and I haven’t looked back.”