THE Airtricity/Soccer Writers Association of Ireland Player of the Month award for November was won by Derry City striker Rory Patterson.
Patterson became the first club player to win the accolade this year and pipped team-mates Barry McNamee and Ger Doherty who finished second and third respectively.
It’s less than a year since Patterson left Linfield for Derry City, and his brace of goals saw the Candy Stripes finish the season as FAI Ford Cup final champions.
Introduced just before the hour mark, Patterson kept his nerve from the penalty spot, and then grabbed the match-winner in the first half of extra-time.
With an impressive goals to game ratio in his first season at the Brandywell, the well travelled Patterson is settled at the club. A decade ago the Strabane man was at Rochdale and more recently he played in the Irish League for Coleraine and Linfield.
There was some doubt in the build-up to the Aviva final as to whether or not the 28-year-old striker would play, but he eventually replaced Patrick McEleney.
“I didn’t play a massive amount throughout the season, so to finish the year off as I did, coming off the bench, and being on a winning team in the FAI Cup final was unreal.
“No one gave us a chance really, we were very much the underdogs in everyone’s mind. However, we knew it in our hearts that we’d travel to Dublin and have a go.
“We had a chance alright and I was delighted for the fans, it was an amazing few days and the reception on our return to Derry and the Town Hall was something else.”
For the Northern Ireland international, brought to Derry to fill the void left by the departure of the hugely successful Eamon Zayed, he wasn’t surprised to miss out on a final start against St Patrick’s Athletic. “In fairness to Declan Devine, I hadn’t played that much in the three months prior to the final. I was a risk. I wasn’t fit for the game against Shelbourne in the run up to the final.
“On top of that I missed the last league game against St Patrick’s Athletic due to a suspension, so it wasn’t a surprise that I didn’t start the final.”